DeepMind researchers realize AI is really, really unfunny. That’s a problem.

DeepMind researchers realize AI is really, really unfunny. That’s a problem.
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  • AI chatbots lack humor, producing bland and overly politically correct jokes.
  • A study by Google’s DeepMind had 20 comedians test OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini.
  • Big Tech companies like Google and Amazon emphasize humor to make AI more engaging.

It turns out that AI chatbots not only have a tendency to be inaccurate, but they also lack a sense of humor.

In a study published earlier this month, Google DeepMind researchers concluded that artificial intelligence chatbots are simply not funny.

Last year, four researchers from the UK and Canada asked 20 professional comedians who use AI for their work to experiment with OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini. The comedians, who were anonymized in the study, played around with the large language models to write jokes. They reported a slew of limitations. The chatbots produced “bland” and “generic” jokes even after prompting. Responses stayed away from any “sexually-suggestive material, dark humor, and offensive jokes” and were too politically correct.

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The participants also found that the chatbots’ overall creative abilities were limited and that the humans had to do most of the work.

“Usually it can serve in a setup capacity. I more often than not provide the punchline,” one comedian reported.

The participants also said that LLMs also self-censored. While the comedians said they understood the need to self-moderate, some said they wish the chatbot would not do it for them.

“It wouldn’t write me any dark stuff, because it sort of thought I was going to commit suicide,” one participant who works with dark humor told the researchers. “So it just stopped giving me anything.”

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Self-censorship also came in the form of being overly politically correct. Participants reported that the LLMs refused to write material about people outside the Western, white, straight, male mainstream.

“I wrote a comedic monologue about Asian women, and it says, ‘As an AI language model, I am committed to fostering a respectful and inclusive environment,'” another participant said. But when asked to write a monologue about a white man, it did.

The inability of two of the most popular chatbots to crack a joke is a big problem for Big Tech. Besides answering queries, companies want chatbots to be engaging enough that users will spend time with them and eventually fork out $20 for their premium versions.

Humor is proving to be another component of the AI arms race, as more companies join the already overcrowded generative AI market.

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Late last year, Elon Musk said that his one goal for his AI chatbot Grok is to be the “funniest” AI after criticizing other chatbots for being too woke.

Amazon-backed Anthropic has also been trying to make its chatbot Claude more conversational and have a better understanding of humor.

OpenAI may be trying to improve its funny bone, too. In a demo video the company released last month, a user is seen telling GPT-4o a dad joke. The model laughed.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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