Can AI Really Make Hilarious Jokes?

Artificial intelligence (AI) needs no introduction. It is a technical discipline that aims to replicate the natural intelligence displayed by humans in computers and robots. The field has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years. Now, it is aiming to crack humor with AI joke makers.

There are questions about whether an AI joke generator can really master humor, given that everyone doesn’t have the same sense of humor.

Face with tears emoji on a mobile phone.
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Why Is It Hard to Create an AI Joke Generator?

Although an AI joke generator is not AI’s next big thing, one would expect it to be a walk in the park. This is particularly because of the advances already made with AI text-generating tools like INK AI and others. However, this isn’t the case, as researchers still struggle to make that decisive breakthrough.

A fundamental problem with creating an effective AI joke-generating tool is the way AI learns. AI depends on data gotten from humans to understand patterns and replicate them. It is easy to grasp the rules of grammar using this method.

However, it doesn’t work well with jokes. Why? There’s simply no clear-cut pattern to creating jokes. An audience might find a particular joke quite hilarious, while others may not find the same joke funny. 

The Progress Made so Far

Teaching AI the nuances of language and cultural undertone in word use is hard. However, it isn’t impossible. AI is poised to touch every fabric of our society. 


Pathways Language Model is a model developed by Google that understands jokes. The model was fed with datasets containing data in English and other languages. It can complete several linguistic tasks and offer an in-depth explanation of jokes.


Witscript is a novel approach to computational humor. Joe Toplyn, an award-winning writer and comedy talk show producer, patented Witscript. 

The system is based on the surprise theory of laughter. This theory proposes that humans laugh when they’re surprised that an incongruity turns out to be harmless. The system follows a few steps to make jokes. First, it reads a database of TV-monologue jokes. Subsequently, it identifies certain keywords to create punch lines.

Future of AI Joke-Generating Tools

Apart from these two tools, several researchers have developed simple tools that create simple puns. However, such tools lack the sophistication to be considered full-fledged joke-creating tools.


Some would argue that it’s not possible for artificial intelligence to make jokes. However, some are optimistic that AI could become very creative in its jokes and be able to create its own. This is a difficult task because each joke triggers a certain set of interactions that might not be possible for AI to compute. The joke changes in reaction to the person and the expectations they have of the AI.

Humor computation is expected to get better in the coming years. This means that AI should be able to create even more complex jokes that are impossible for people to create.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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