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How Computers Could Make You Funnier

How Computers Could Make You Funnier

With the rise of workplace chat services like Slack, more people than ever are spending time in chat rooms. Being able to find a witty, topical photo online is no longer just the purview of lonely gamers–now it’s a necessary job skill. But what if you aren’t funny? Computers to the rescue.


Miaomiao Wen and a team at Microsoft Research have developed a system called CAHOOTS that automatically recommends funny photos to you as you chat with a friend. New Scientist writes:

The software uses the text typed into a chat window to search for images and offers a constantly updated selection to choose from. For example, in response to the typed question “Why u late?” the system suggests pictures found by searching for “funny why” and “funny late”, an image emblazoned with the words “I don’t know!” – which is a canned response to questions – as well as an image meme generated on the fly.

Wen tested the system on 738 of Amazon’s Mechanical Turks, a legion of workers who take menial online jobs through Amazon. Overall, they thought the program made chatting more fun and enhanced their humor. But don’t expect to see CAHOOTS in Slack anytime soon–the researchers use web search to come up with photos, so many of the visual jokes are extremely NSFW.

[via New Scientist]

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