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P=NP Would Break Comedy?

  1. May 28, 2016 #1
    I don't have any understanding of P vs NP past the colloquial explanation of it, but it occurred to me that it is essential that P ≠ NP for comedy to function. For almost all comedy to work it relies on a "punchline" that is not easily predicted but, once revealed, can be easily and near instantly interpreted by the audience. When a punchline is too easy to predict (or "calculate") the joke falls flat.

    I don't know if anyone actually finds this an interesting topic to discuss, and perhaps someone who knows more about the P vs NP problem can enlighten me, but I thought if there is ever a place to share this thought it would be here.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2016 #2


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    I don't know if this is the same topic but for some time I have felt that one of the quickest ways to make an Artificial Intelligence program fail the Turing test is via humour - tell it a joke and see if it 'gets' it, or ask it to make you laugh.

    When a computer can write a funny stand-up routine I will start to wonder whether computers are attaining consciousness. For all the hype about AI programs, we are currently so far away from computers being able to do that that it is unimaginable what level of complexity would be required for that to be achieved, and what a computer that could do that would be like. Comedy seems to me to be either uncomputable or, if not that, at an extremely high level of complexity.
  4. May 28, 2016 #3


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    Isaac Asimov has a great short story called "Jokester" about the origin of humor. Part of the story involves programming a computer to create jokes. The final resolution of the origin of humor is mind-blowing.
  5. May 28, 2016 #4
    Most comedy is funny because it's ridiculous.
    The very fact that the comedian proposes P ≠ NP is what is funny,
    Not sure why though, but It makes me laugh.
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