Jun10-13, 03:23 PM
British evolutionary scientist Alastair Clarke has proposed that shuffling 8 simple patterns in different combinations to rapidly scan for repetition among incongruous juxtapositions can explain the foundations of cognition itself as a fundamentally simple process of normalization. In other words, he proposes that humor can be used to explained in evolutionary terms as possibly the demonstrable foundation of cognition itself. It is the first comprehensive theory of humor that seems to explain all previous theories, as well as a great deal more, and has potential applications in AI among other things. Ironically upon reaching his conclusions, like Max Planck, he immediately requested in so many words that his colleges explain the joke.
As I understand the theory, in crude terms, he proposes that merely by playing with the data, like a toddler with 8 distortion lenses creating their own personal cartoons, the unconscious mind works as a kind of primitive B.S. detector that rapidly scans data to determine how trivial, distorted, meaningless, or outright false or misleading it might be. This "inner toddler" may be completely oblivious to the actual content of the data, but laughs upon finding any surprising juxtapositions in order to inform the conscious mind it has found something with potentially interesting content.
For example, an actual toddler may laugh equally hysterically upon discovering a dust bunny or a burglar wearing a mask of their favorite cartoon character. The adult then has to decide whether they have the time and interest to investigate. Crying or whatever can be considered specific types of laughter that help to bias the entire system and convey other messages. Fear, for example, might be described as a type of laughter that helps to bias the data processing system towards the immediate needs of survival. Anyway, I'd be interested in learning more on the subject and hearing people's opinions.
Jokes are welcome as well, just please try to keep it tasteful and not get carried away.
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