Microsoft Ups Your Comedic Game In Online Chats With CAHOOTS

Five Microsoft researchers and a Carnegie Mellon University student joined forces this year to answer one of life’s most pressing questions: Can a computer be funny? To find the answer, researchers developed as computerized funnyman, CAHOOTS, to make jokes based on what researchers know about online humor.

As the researchers note in a paper titled, “OMG UR Funny! Computer-Aided Humor with an Application to Chat,” computer-generated humor (CGH) has proved elusive to computer scientists. Software can be designed to create puns and other jokes, but creating humor that really makes people laugh has generally been the province of, well, people. So, the researchers proposed a new strategy.

funny computer

“Rather than pursuing humor solely through a CGH strategy, we propose providing computational support for humorous interactions between people using what we call Computer-Aided Humor (CAH),” the researchers wrote. “We show that by allowing the computer and human to work together, CAH systems can help people be funny and express their own sense of humor.

The newly designed CAH (which the researchers refer to at one point as a “creativity support tool”), turns out to be a pretty decent engine for helping people find relevant jokes and memes that they can work into their posts. It can supply text, memes, and pictures, much of which it finds with Bing, Microsoft’s search engine. The researchers concluded that people generally liked the help CAHOOTS provides when creating funny posts online.

Will CAHOOTS ever be implemented? Microsoft hasn’t said, but we doubt that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is getting daily briefings on it. All we’re going to say is that Windows 10 had better be killer.