Thursday, September 2, 2010

Human Joke Machine

The Chicago Sun-Times leads this morning with a story about a Northwestern AI researcher working on “machine-generated humor” and defending his work from critics like John McCain who don’t like federal funding for “joke machines.” Sadly, no mention is made of the original Human Joke Machine, a programming breakthrough familiar since at least the early 1960s to fans of the Dick Van Dyke Show. Its efforts were often crudely ineffective. Asked to produce a joke about horses, the HJM came up with this: If everyone owned a horse, this country would be a lot more stabilized.

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