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Can you teach a computer to be funny?

The reverse is already more than funny

Note: Good humor requires vast general knowledge: A rare ingredient. Hard to accumulate a vast data-base for categorizing humor and performing statistical analysis

Nov 2, 2017 

Here’s one example of a machine-generated joke: “Why did the chicken cross the road? To see the punchline.”

Learn about the work that scientists are doing to make AI more LOL.

When it comes to predicting advances in AI, the popular imagination tends to fixate on the most dystopian scenarios: as in, If our machines get so smart, someday they’ll rise up against humanity and take over the world.

But what if all our machines wanted to do was crack some jokes?

That is the dream of computational humorists — machine learning researchers dedicated to creating funny computers.

One such enthusiast is Vinith Misra (TED@IBM Talk: Machines need an algorithm for humor: Here’s what it looks like), a data scientist at Netflix (and consultant to HBO’s Silicon Valley) who wants to see a bit more whimsy in technology.

While there’s intrinsic value in cracking the code for humor, this research also holds practical importance.

As machines occupy larger and larger chunks of our lives, Misra sees a need to imbue circuitry with personality. We’ve all experienced the frustration caused by a dropped phone call or a crashed program.

Your computer isn’t a sympathetic audience during these trials and tribulations; at times like these, levity can go a long way in improving our relationship with technology.

So, how do you program a computer for laughs? “Humor is one of the most non-computational things,” Misra says. In other words, there’s no formula for funny-ness.

While you can learn how to bake a cake or build a chair from a set of instructions, there’s no recipe for crafting a great joke. But if we want to imbue our machines with wit, we need to find some kind of a recipe; after all, computers are unflinching rule-followers. This is the great quagmire of computational humor.

To do this, you have to pick apart what makes a particular joke funny. (Like in linguistic?)

Then you need to turn your ideas into rules and codify them into algorithms. However, humor is kind of like pornography … you know it when you see it. (Humor is Not just words: it is gestures, silences, faces, postures, vast general knowledge…)

A joke told by British comedian Lee Dawson exemplifies the difficulties of deconstructing jokes, according to Misra. It goes: “My mother-in-law fell down a wishing well the other day. I was surprised — I had no idea that they worked!” 

It’s not so easy to pick out why this joke works (and some mothers-in-law would argue it does not work at all). For starters, there’s a certain amount of societal context that goes with understanding why a mother-in-law going down a well is funny. (Now, what’s a wishing well?)

Does this mean that creating a joke-telling computer would require the uploading and analyzing of an entire culture’s worth of knowledge and experience?

Some researchers have been experimenting with a different approach.

Abhinav Moudgil, a graduate student at the International Institute for Information Technology in Hyderabad, India, works primarily in the field of computer vision but explores his interest in computational humor in his spare time.

Moudgil has been working with a recurrent neural network, a popular type of statistical model. The distinction between neural networks and older, rule-based models could be compared to the difference between showing and telling.

With rule-based algorithms, most of the legwork is done by the coders; they put in a great deal of labor and energy up-front, writing specific directions for the program that tells it what to do. The system is highly constrained, and it produces a set of similarly structured jokes. The results are decent but closer to what kids — not adults — might find hilarious.

Here are two examples:

“What is the difference between a mute glove and a silent cat? One is a cute mitten and the other is a mute kitten.”

“What do you call a strange market? A bizarre bazaar.”

With neural networks, data does the heavy lifting; you can show a program what to generate by feeding it a data-set of hundreds of thousands of examples. The network picks out patterns and emulates them when it generates text. (This is the same way computers “learn” how to recognize particular images.)

Of course, neural networks don’t see like humans do. Networks analyze data inputs, whether pictures or text, as strings of numbers, and comb through these strings to detect patterns. The number of times your network analyzes the dataset — called iterations — is incredibly important: too few iterations, and the network won’t pick up enough patterns; too many, and the network will pick out superfluous patterns.

For instance, if you want your network to recognize flamingos but you made it iterate on a set of flamingo pictures for too long, it would probably get better at recognizing that particular set of pictures rather than flamingos in general.

Moudgil created a dataset of 231,657 short jokes culled from the far corners of the Internet.

He fed it to his network, which analyzed the jokes letter by letter. Because the network operates on a character level, it didn’t analyze the wordplay of the jokes; instead, it picked up on the probabilities of certain letters appearing after other letters and then generated jokes along similar lines.

So, because many of the jokes in the training set were in the form “What do you call…” or “Why did the…”, the letter “w” had a high probability of being followed by “h”, the letter pair “wh” had high probabilities of being followed by “y” or “a,” and the letter sequence “wha” was almost certainly followed by “t.”

His network generated a lot of jokes — some terrible, some awful and some okay. Here’s a sample:

“I think hard work is the reason they hate me.”

“Why can’t Dracula be true? Because there are too many cheetahs.”

“Why did the cowboy buy the frog? Because he didn’t have any brains.”

Why did the chicken cross the road? To see the punchline.”

Some read more like Zen koans than jokes. 

That’s because Moudgil trained his network with many different kinds of humor. While his efforts won’t get him a comedy writing gig, he considers them to be promising. He plans to continue his work, and he’s also made his dataset public to encourage others to experiment as well.

He wants the machine learning community to know that, he says, “a neural net is a way to do humor research.”

On his next project, Moudgil will try to eliminate nonsensical results by training the network on a large set of English sentences before he trains it on a joke dataset. That way, the network will have integrated grammar into its joke construction and should generate much less gibberish.

Other efforts have focused on replicating a particular comedian’s style. He Ren and Quan Yang of Stanford University trained a neural network to imitate the humor of Conan O’Brien.

Their model generated these one-liners:

“Apple is teaming up with Playboy in the self-driving office.”

“New research finds that Osama Bin Laden was arrested for President on a Southwest Airlines flight.”

Yes, the results read a bit more like drunk Conan than real Conan. Ren and Yang estimate only 12% of the jokes were funny (based on human ratings), and some of the funny jokes only generated laughs because they were so nonsensical.

These efforts show there’s clearly a lot of work to be done before researchers can say they’ve successfully engineered humor.

“They’re an effective illustration of the state of computational humor today, which is both promising in the long term and discouraging in the short term,” says Misra.

Yet if we ever want to build AI that simulates human-style intelligence, we’ll need to figure out how to code for funny. And when we finally do, this could turn our human fears of a machine uprising into something we can all laugh about.



How to Spot Psychological Manipulators

By Dr. Perry, PhD,  

“You learn a lot about people when they don’t get what they want.” ~Anonymous

There is an ebb and flow to life. The seasons change and the flowers bloom, only to later wilt.

We all give and take in our daily lives. Our interactions with one another are overall based on a healthy exchange of emotions, ideas and positive social interactions.

There are some individuals, that like crashing waves have a disruptive influence in our lives. They seem only interested in profiting from the relationship and will give little or nothing in exchange. They use psychological manipulation to disguise their true intent.

Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that uses deception, underhanded tactics and abuse in order to achieve the interests of the manipulator.

The manipulator may use these tactics for personal gain, to advance a covert agenda, gain a position of power and superiority in the relationship or simply because they are bored.

Manipulation may be a factor in a number of  mental disorders. (Or a sort of definite type of intelligence and vigor for life?)

It appears to be part of the psychopaths M.O. (modus operandi), in order to gain what they (Anti-social Disorder, Narcissistic Personality disorder, Histrionic Disorder) want. (we tend to throw nonchalantly all these disorders, as if everyone must be afflicted with most of them?)

While not all people who manipulate are suffering from a mental disorder, it is important to know how to identify manipulation and how to deal with it.

Manipulative individuals are able to detect your weaknesses and use them against you. You may encounter them at work, social settings or within your own family.

When you assert your boundaries, it is important to pay attention to how people react to your defense of a set boundary. If they react with a negative emotion such as anger, hostility, intimidation, silent treatment or playing the victim, you have found the border where their respect for you ends.

Here are some signs of manipulation:

1. Lying – Overtly or by omission, they will play with the truth to facilitate their goal. See my blog post How to Spot Deception for a more detailed look at deception.

2. Denial – They will deny doing anything wrong, even when caught red handed.

3. Anger/Defensive – When confronted, they will react with excessive anger or defensiveness. They will use anger to scare you into submission. They may even use controlled anger to shock their victim and get them to focus on the anger instead of the harm.

4. Rationalization – When confronted with their manipulative behavior they will explain it away and put a positive spin to it.

5. Minimization – They will explain their behavior in a way to minimize it. For example, after insulting you they may claim it was only a joke. (Except if they are really funny and have a great sense of humor that you lack?)

6. Diversion – When confronted or they feel you may be on to their manipulative ways they will divert your attention to another topic or may switch gears and physically do some act to get your attention.

7. Intimidation – The manipulator may resort to direct or implied threats in order to get a person to act or not act.

8. Guilt trip – To get a person to act, the manipulator will make statements to the victim such as “You don’t care,” “You are selfish,” “You have it easier” and other similar statements. What they say will depend on their perceived weakness of the target. They will use guilt to make the victim feel bad, doubt their boundaries and act according to the manipulators plan.

9. Shame – The manipulator may use shame and ‘put downs’ to create fear and self doubt. They may use sarcasm and mocking behavior to create a sense of inadequacy in their victim. This perceived inadequacy will cause the victim to doubt themselves and not dare to question the manipulator.

10. Playing the victim – The manipulator may play the role of victim in order to gain sympathy and pity. They will make up stories of hardship and pain and will use this tactic to manipulate good hearted individuals who wish to help.

11. Vilify the victim – The manipulator will falsely accuse the victim of a perpetrated act that they themselves are accused of. For example, they will claim that they are the ones being abused in order to put the victim on the defense. They will also project the blame to the victim. They will try to convince you and others that you are crazy or you are the abusive one.

12. Seduction – A manipulator will use flattery, charm and praise to get the victim to drop their guard and to gain the trust of the victim. This approach will be used repeatedly throughout a person’s relationship with the manipulator. It is often seen after the victim has pointed out past manipulative behavior. It is a way to lull a victim into complacency and acceptance of the behavior.

13. Feigning innocence – When confronted with their manipulative behavior, they will act surprised and appear not to know what the victim is talking about. They will make it appear as if it is a misunderstanding and that it is the victim who is seeing things in a negative way. This is another way of making the victim feel inadequate and confused.

14. Peer pressure – The manipulator may try to convince the victim that they should act a certain way because others are ‘ok’ with and engaging with the behavior.

Remember, you are in control of your life and you always have the right to say “NO” to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. (if you lack verbal intelligence, just say No? It is a good start)

Psychological manipulation is a form of mental bullying. (After adolescence, most bullying are primarily metal and emotional machinations)

Manipulators feed on their perceived weaknesses of others and will not stop unless confronted.

The intention of this post is to help you identify these behavior so you can put a stop to it or to avoid entirely. If you found this post to be helpful or insightful please remember to like, comment and share.

Note: Too many forms of manipulations surround us to be able to be conscious of in a timely manner. And time is our only allies to fortify us with wisdom and compassion)




Plus d’implants dentaires, un dentiste fait pousser de nouvelles dents en seulement 9 semaines !

Repousser les dents en utilisant des cellules souches

Si vous avez déjà eu le malheur de perdre une dent, vous avez peut-être déjà envisagé des implants dentaires. Vous avez peut-être aussi été surpris d’apprendre combien ils coûtent, et que souvent des matériaux tels que le  mercure ou l’argent sont utilisés.

Mais que se passerait-il si nous pouvions réellement repousser nos dents ?Heureusement, il y a des découvertes incroyables dans la santé bucco-dentaire qui pourrait complètement changer le jeu.

Repousser vos propres dents !

Le Dr Jeremy Mao et son équipe de l’Université de Columbia aux Etats-Unis ont pu repousser les dents en utilisant des cellules souches comme « échafaudage » pour la croissance de la nouvelle dent.

implants dentaires

Le Dr Mao explique : « La dent manquante est remplacée par des cellules souches de votre corps, et la dent commence à se fondre dans le tissu environnant.

Cela stimule le processus de régénération et entraîne une repousse de la dent en un temps record. Cela pourrait signifier la fin des chirurgies dentaires coûteuses utilisées pour remplacer les dents endommagées ou manquantes. »

Ce serait un changement important et opportun dans le domaine de la santé dentaire, étant donné les risques actuels associés aux implants dentaires:

  • La recherche montre que les implants dentaires peuvent augmenter le risque de vulnérabilité aux maladies, comme les maladies cardiaques, les maladies du foie, les maladies rénales et plus encore.
  • Actuellement, les implants sont réalisés sans aucun test de biocompatibilité. Ce test garantit que les matériaux qui sont introduits dans notre corps sont sans danger pour nous.
  • Les maladies auto-immunes semblent être souvent aggravées ou même déclenchées par l’installation d’implants métalliques.
  • En outre, un événement appelé galvanisme oral se produit lorsque vous placez deux métaux différents dans votre bouche. La présence de différents métaux (par exemple amalgame, or et mercure, ou acier inoxydable et mercure) entraîne une action galvanique, c’est à dire un courant électrique, lequel a pour conséquence des niveaux beaucoup plus élevés de dégagement de vapeur de mercure dans les tissus oraux.

9 semaines pour faire pousser une nouvelle dent!

À l’heure actuelle, les dentistes se limitent aux procédures disponibles, mais le Docteur Mao et son équipe utilisent de nouvelles recherches sur les cellules souches pour approfondir leurs résultats.

Cette recherche pourrait éventuellement être utilisée pour traiter tout, des os cassés aux troubles génétiques.

implants dentaires

Bien que le processus de régénération des dents dure 9 semaines, ce qui est plus long que les traitements conventionnels, les gens vont certainement préférer une nouvelle dent faite de leur propre ADN plutôt qu’une substance étrangère, menaçant leur santé bucco-dentaire et globale.

Le Dr Mao indique que la procédure est actuellement au stade de la recherche et qu’elle n’est pas encore disponible pour le public, mais elle devrait être disponible dans un proche avenir.

En attendant, si vous voulez éviter les traitements classiques qui pourraient être nuisibles, cherchez un bon dentiste. De plus, une bonne santé bucco-dentaire commence par une bonne santé globale, alors prenez soin de votre corps.


Is better possible?

The answer to this is so obvious to me that it took me a while to realize that many people are far more comfortable with ‘no’.

The easiest and safest thing to do is accept what you’ve been ‘given’, to assume that you are unchangeable, and the cards you’ve been dealt are all that are available.

When you assume this, all the responsibility for outcomes disappears, and you can relax.

When I meet people who proudly tell me that they don’t read (their term) “self-help” books because they are fully set, I’m surprised.

First, because all help is self help (except, perhaps, for open heart surgery and the person at the makeup counter at Bloomingdales). But even this sort of help requires that you show up for it.

Mostly, I’m surprised because there’s just so much evidence to the contrary.

Fear, once again fear, is the driving force here.

If you accept the results you’ve gotten before, if you hold on to them tightly, then you never have to face the fear of the void, of losing what you’ve got, of trading in your success for your failure.

And if you want to do this to yourself, this is your choice.

But don’t do it to others. Don’t do it to your kids, or your students, or your co-workers.

Don’t do it to the people in under-privileged neighborhoods or entire countries.

Better might be difficult, better might involve overcoming unfair barriers, but better is definitely possible. And the belief that it’s possible is a gift.

We owe everyone around us not just the strongest foundation we can afford to offer, but also the optimism that they can reach a little higher.

To write off people because you don’t think getting better is comfortable enough is sad indeed.

Better is a dream worth dreaming.

Architects: Design for the ear

Noise goes up, heart rate goes up.

Because of poor acoustics, students in classrooms miss 50% of what their teachers say and patients in hospitals have trouble sleeping because they continually feel stressed.

Julian Treasure sounds a call to action for designers to pay attention to the “invisible architecture” of sound.

This talk was presented at an official TED conference in 2012, and was featured by our editors on the home page.

Julian Treasure · Sound consultant studies sound and advises businesses on how best to use it.

It’s time to start designing for the ears.

Note 1: In Industrial engineering, there is a section called Human Factors in engineering. It deals with health and safety in workplaces, and product designs. Vision and acoustics are major issues, besides posture (Ergonomics). I was exposed to all these issues in my graduate studies and did a few experiments on degradation of health and safety in noisy environment.

Note 2: All architects, interior designers, urban planners, product designers must be exposed to the health and safety issues in the environment they are professionals in.

Pineal Gland Our Third Eye: The Biggest cover-up in human history?

Note: I also publish controversial articles, for you to study, discriminate and reflect on your own

Hovig Vartabedian shared a link on FBOctober 27, 2016 ·

The pineal gland (also called the pineal body, epiphysis cerebri, epiphysis or the “third eye”) is a small endocrine gland in the vertebrate brain.

It produces the serotonin derivative melatonin, a hormone that affects the modulation of wake/sleep patterns and seasonal functions. I

ts shape resembles a tiny pine cone (hence its name), and it is located near the center of the brain, between the two hemispheres, tucked in a groove where the two rounded thalamic bodies join.

The Secret : What they don’t want you to KNOW!

Every human being’s Pineal Gland or The third eye can be activated to spiritual world frequencies and enables you to have the sense of all knowing, godlike euphoria and oneness all around you.

A pineal gland once tuned into to proper frequencies with help of meditation, yoga or various esoteric, occult methods, enables a person to travel into other dimensions, popularly known as astral travel or astral projection or remote viewing.

With more advance practice and ancient methods it is also possible to control the thoughts and actions of people in the physical world.

The United States, former Soviet Union governments and various shadow organization have been doing this type of research for ages and have succeed far beyond our imagination.

Pineal Gland is represented in Catholicism in Rome; they depict the pineal as a pine cone in art. The ancient societies like the Egyptians and the Romans knew the benefits and exemplified this in their vast symbologies with a symbol of an eye.

Pineal Gland reference is also in back of the U.S. dollar bill with what is called the ‘all seeing eye’, which is a reference to the ability of an individual (or group of individuals) to use this gland and go to the other side (spiritual world) and possibly control the thoughts and actions of people in the physical world by knowing what they are thinking at all times in our physical world. (Big Brother institutions?)

Various research being conducted so far confirms that there are certain periods in the night, between the hours of one and four in the morning where chemicals are released in the brain that bring about feelings of connectedness to one’s higher source. (Period I mostly get sexual erections?)

The Conspiracy : How they are Killing your Pineal Gland

In the late 90’s, a scientist by the name of Jennifer Luke carries out the first study the effects of sodium fluoride on the pineal gland. She determined that the pineal gland, located in the middle of the brain, was a target for fluoride.

The pineal gland simply absorbed more fluoride than any other physical matter in the body, even bones.
Pineal gland is like a magnet to sodium fluoride.

This calcifies the gland and makes it no longer effective in balancing the entire hormonal processes through the body.

Various Researches ever since have proved Sodium Fluoride goes to the most important gland in the brain? It’s the only thing that attacks the most important center of our gland in the brain. It’s prevalent in foods, beverages and in our bath and drinking water.

Sodium Fluoride is added in 90% of the United States water supply. Water filters you buy in supermarkets do not take the fluoride out. Only reverse osmosis or water distillation. The cheapest way is to buy a water distiller.

Sodium Fluoride is in our water supply, food, pepsi, tooth paste, mouthwashes, coke, to dumb down the masses, literally!.  The fluoride was introduced into the water by the Nazis and the Russians in their concentration camps to make the camp population docile and do not question authority.

I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I believe that if you take away the seat of the soul, this disconnects our oneness with our god and power of our source our spirituality and turn us into a mundane slave of secret societies, shadow organizations and the control freak corporate world.

I like to end my article with this quote..

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.

Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.

But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

– :Buddha

Is Everything you hear in films a Lie?

Sound is a language. It can trick us by transporting us geographically; it can change the mood; it can set the pace; it can make us laugh or it can make us scared.

Sound design is built on deception –– when you watch a movie or TV show, nearly all of the sounds you hear are fake.

Tasos Frantzolas explores the role of sound in storytelling and demonstrates just how easily our brains are fooled by what we hear.

This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxAthens, an independent event. TED editors featured it among our selections on the home page.

Tasos Frantzolas · Entrepreneur. lives and creates at the intersection of audio and technology.




November 2017
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