Turing Test #N-1:  detect sarcasm:

“Sarcasm, also called verbal irony, is the name given to speech bearing a semantic interpretation exactly opposite to its literal meaning.” With that in mind, they then focussed on 131 occurrences of the phrase“yeah right” in the ‘Switchboard’ and ‘Fisher’ recorded telephone conversation databases. Human listeners who sifted the data found that roughly 23% of the “yeah right”s which occurred were used in a recognisably sarcastic way. The lab’s computer algorithms were then ‘trained’ with two five-state Hidden Markov Models (HMM) and set to analyse the data – and the programmes performed relatively well, successfully flagging some 80% of the sarky “yeah right”s.

That’s pretty good, but I’ll wait around for the computers to pass the Nth and ultimate Turing Test:  compose a joke that is actually funny.

Honestly if we had to rank tests of similarity to human interaction, I believe that composing original humor is probably the very last one computers will solve. (Restricting attention to the usual thought experiment where the subject you are interacting with is in another room and you have to judge whether it is a human or a computer just on the basis of text-based interaction.)

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