AI can tell jokes and will soon write better novels than humans, according to a computer scientist

Business Insider US

NTT Docomo 5G robot mirroring the operator's movements doing Japanese calligraphy, during the Mobile World Congress day 3, on February 28, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (Getty Images)
  • Business Insider US spoke with Bjorn Schuller, an expert and professor in machine intelligence. 
  • Schuller talked about what AI currently is able of - telling jokes. 
  • The next step will be writing novels, particularly with their ability to exploit and store entire databases of information.
  • He explains what AI needs to learn to be able to write novels, and how it could all happen within the next 10 years.

Bjorn Schuller, an expert and professor in machine intelligence, says A.I. can already tell jokes and is on one the verge of writing better novels than humans. Within the next 10 years he expects them to catch up.

The last hurdle left for machines is to overcome 'reading between the lines', as machines miss out on the nuances of human irony and sarcasm. In an interview with Business Insider US Schuller explains. 

Read the full transcript below: So, what humans are great at this moment is particularly "context integration" and lending their overall understanding of the world and what's going on in making an analysis of a situation.

So with a machines natural language of understanding, for example, we're not quite there yet, so when they read research papers they're just lacking the context and sometimes don't get the gist of let's say irony, sarcasm or other nuances which are in between the lines. 

However, these gaps are slowly becoming less of a gap, let's say. Because emotional intelligence is more and more coming to the fore, and at the same time the machines can exploit big big data, and exploit all sorts of knowledge databases a human does not have the capacity to store.

So when we think of a machine and a human, the machine can browse, let's say all of Wikipedia or alike, and therefore would have quite an advantage in exploiting more information once it's able to exploit it in useful ways.

But when it's merely coming to conversational skills and let's say creativity skills that I've just been talking about, creating new paintings, new poems, creating new solutions, there's probably not much headroom for the humans anymore these days. The machines indeed might be able to replace a lot of what we do these days in these domains. That might include - by the way - us, the researchers, professors because A.I. can also find new research topics itself, do them quite thoroughly, and yet, publish about those.

A humanoid smart robot by IFLYTEK dances during the 2016 International E-business Expo on March 30, 2016 in Guangzhou, China. (Getty Images)

So could A.I. one day write novels? I'm pretty sure it can because it's already starting to invent jokes, invent little poems. So once it's having all the understanding, well coupled with the ability to also synthesise - and in fact, it does already synthesise text or other things to better learn about them, just like we, when we learn about language start not only to listen but also to babble a little bit. It can also write in appealing ways and come up with plots and other things that will be quite intriguing.

And then again it has a big advantage over the human author, it can be very good at keeping track of the characters it's using in its fiction. So it can keep perfect track of all the details, of all potential flaws that wouldn't find its way easily into a machine written story, because the story can be checked at all levels by the machine perfectly well.

But of course, there's still some time for us. So we can all relax and chill a bit because there's at least a decade or two until the machines are as good as we are at interpreting text, and re-writing text and also making them feel enjoyable, making them feel fun to read, yet be informative.

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