Text writing AI generates April Fool’s jokes to play with yourself

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With April 1 almost here, a computer researcher wanted to see if an AI could generate some smashing April Fools’ Day jokes.

Social distance is still in effect, so Janelle Shane commissioned the popular language modeling software GPT-3 to come up with jokes that people could play against themselves.

One version of the neural net suggested cutting your mattress in half or standing in line for a movie for 30 minutes and then just walk away.

Another suggested ‘[creating] a secret language that only you and your cat can understand. ‘

“Take a bunch of jelly beans,” it offered as an alternative, “put them in a zip lock bag and tie the bag around your neck.”

The most dangerous suggestion the program offered was pouring hot coffee on your lap.

“It’s an oldie, but it’s still a favorite,” the program said.

An AI expert commissioned a popular language modeling software program to come up with April Fools' Day jokes that people could play against themselves during quarantine

An AI expert commissioned a popular language modeling software program to come up with April Fools’ Day jokes that people could play against themselves during quarantine

Shane, an optics researcher at Boulder Nonlinear Systems, loves tinkering with what she calls “ AI weirdness, ” experiments in machine learning that often produce hilarious results.

She has commissioned neural nets to devise pick-up lines, tell manhunt jokes, and has now learned the technology to make April Fools’ jokes.

“ One thing I noticed, however, is that you play a lot of the AI ​​generated jokes with yourself, ” Shane wrote in a recent blog post

Since so many of us are isolating, she thought it was the perfect time for some DIY April Fools ideas.

DaVinci is the most powerful version of GPT-3, an algorithm that uses deep learning to produce human-like text.  It suggested 'Sawing your mattress in half to see if it's still good' as an April Fools joke, or 'Create a secret language that only you and your cat can understand'

DaVinci is the most powerful version of GPT-3, an algorithm that uses deep learning to produce human-like text.  It suggested 'Sawing your mattress in half to see if it's still good' as an April Fools joke, or 'Create a secret language that only you and your cat can understand'

DaVinci is the most powerful version of GPT-3, an algorithm that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. It suggested ‘Sawing your mattress in half to see if it’s still good’ as an April Fools joke, or ‘Create a secret language that only you and your cat can understand’

She turned to Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3, or GPT-3, an advanced algorithm that uses deep learning to produce human-like text.

GPT-3’s Internet training already included many lists of April Fools jokes, Shane explained, so she gave four different variations of the program a new list to complete.

AI researcher Janelle Shane (pictured) tested whether GPT-3, an algorithm that uses deep learning to produce human-like text, could generate April Fool's Day jokes

AI researcher Janelle Shane (pictured) tested whether GPT-3, an algorithm that uses deep learning to produce human-like text, could generate April Fool's Day jokes

AI researcher Janelle Shane (pictured) tested whether GPT-3, an algorithm that uses deep learning to produce human-like text, could generate April Fool’s Day jokes

Quarantine yourself on April 1? Has your cat put an absolute moratorium on pranks? it reads.

‘No worries! Here’s a list of April Fools jokes you can play with yourself! ‘

DaVinci, the most powerful of the GPT-3 variants, suggested creating a secret language ‘that only you and your cat can understand’.

Other gags it came up with included sawing your mattress in half, putting your car keys in the freezer and forgetting where you left them, or standing in line for a movie for 30 minutes and then just walking away.

If you think those don’t qualify as pranks, DaVinci had a more involved bit that’s sure to be a hoot: ‘Say you’re going to clean up your mess and go for a run. Block a day for it. [But] for God’s sake, don’t clean anything and absolutely don’t run. ‘

With more examples of real-life jokes, Shane theorized, DaVinci might not have generated “ which is frankly an impressive picture of life in covid quarantine, given the internet training data that stopped in October 2019. ”

“Eat a banana in your own mouth,” was Babbage’s idea from an April Fools’ Day joke

Curie, the second largest GPT-3 variant, told her to ‘install a fake microwave on the wall that you never use’ or ‘take a bunch of jellybeans, put them in a zip lock bag and tie the bag around your neck ‘.

It also came up with this winner: ‘Put a freezer in your freezer. Then put a sign on it that reads ‘Freezer burn’.

From then on things only got worse: for a hilarious April Fool joke, Babbage, a less potent variant, instructed Shane to “eat a banana in your own mouth” or “put your name on a balloon.” Surprise!’

Some of his jokes were downright painful: “Pour a cup of coffee into your lap,” suggested Babbage. “It’s an oldie, but it’s still a favorite.”

“ Put a freezer in your freezer, ” Curie advised as a surefire do-it-yourself joke, “ Then put a sign on it that read “ Burn Freezer. ”

Ada, the least powerful GPT-3 variant, didn’t seem to understand what a joke was, telling Shane, “My cat slept through a December snowstorm in Florida this year.”

The idea of ​​an April Fool’s goof was, ‘Walk into a toy store and buy a pack of bath mats, an inflatable pill bottle, and a video game. But only if you are a cat. ‘

AI is trained to replicate patterns, experts say, while much of comedy is about modifying a pattern in subtle and unexpected ways.

“Creative language – and humor in particular – is one of the most difficult areas for computational intelligence to understand,” said Tristan Miller, a computer scientist and linguist at Germany’s Technical University in Darmstadt. The New York Post in 2019.

Ada, the least powerful variant of GPT-3, thought, 'My cat slept through a December snowstorm in Florida this year,' sounded like a pretty good joke to pull out on April 1.

Ada, the least powerful variant of GPT-3, thought, 'My cat slept through a December snowstorm in Florida this year,' sounded like a pretty good joke to pull out on April 1.

Ada, the least powerful variant of GPT-3, thought, ‘My cat slept through a December snowstorm in Florida this year,’ sounded like a pretty good joke to pull out on April 1.

Miller has analyzed thousands of jokes and says they rely “on real knowledge – background knowledge and common sense.”

“A computer doesn’t have these real-world experiences to draw on,” he said. “He only knows what you tell him and what he draws from.”

AI doesn’t do much better with romance than humor: When Shane ordered DaVinci to come up with pickup lines, it noted that the reader had a ‘pretty face’, then asked ‘Can I put it on an air freshener put? ? I always want to keep your scent close to me. ‘