Big Picture Science
April 29, 2019: Gained in Translation
Your virtual assistant is not without a sense of humor. Its repertoire includes the classic story involving a chicken and a road. But will Alexa laugh at your jokes? Will she groan at your puns?
Telling jokes is one thing. Teaching a computer to recognize humor is another, because a clear definition of humor is lacking. But doing so is a step toward making more natural interactions with A.I.
Find out what’s involved in tickling A.I.’s funny bone. Also, an interstellar communication challenge: Despite debate about the wisdom of transmitting messages to space, one group sends radio signals to E.T. anyway. Find out how they crafted a non-verbal message and what it contained.
Plus, why using nuanced language to connive and scheme ultimately turned us into a more peaceful species. And yes, it’s all gouda: why melted cheese may be the cosmic message of peace we need.
- Julia Rayz – Computer scientist and associate professor at Purdue University’s Department of Computer and Information Technology
- Steve Adler – Mayor of Austin, Texas
- Doug Vakoch – Psychologist and president of the non-profit organization METI International
- Richard Wrangham – Biological anthropologist at Harvard University and author of “The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution”