Something Uniquely Human?

Ponds on the Ocean by NASA Goddard Photo and Video is licensed under CC-BY 2.0

I suspect many of us have had the experience of thinking that perhaps Irony is a force in the Universe?

Perhaps such energy exists in the same way as I understand the Egyptians worshipped the Neters – which were the forces of a conscious and intelligent universe – such as the tides of the Nile and whistling winds.

So I have always been fascinated by humor because the one thing it doesn’t allow is analysis. A human reaction to something deemed funny is deeply automatic. Generally it’s something you don’t see coming.

That’s as deep as any anlysis goes. Either there is a reaction – a smile or even better a sincere laugh, or it is not humor.

Other intelligent animals seem to have a similar senses. Chimps seem to laugh along with some other primates and there are accounts of dolphins playing tricks and seeming to laugh.

But I think it’s pretty safe to stipulate that an AI does not have a sense of humor. As I suspected they are programmed to recognize phrases and concepts that may be funny due to their linguistic model – referencing similar phrases that have been judged to be funny, presumably at some point in the past by a human?

When you realize how critical laughter and its cousin joy (also never to be experienced electronically) it makes the prospect of AI wiping out humans even bleaker. Who would there be to appreciate the Irony of the Universe?

In discussing this with Chat it pointed out the source of the word humor being a term that related to earthiness — that made my feeling even stronger that the lesson of AI if we are to learn it is just how unique human experience is.

If a new race of hybrid humans emerges it seems unlikely that humor will be part of the package. First many of them will be fighting other AIs. And the sort of authoritarian folks who seem to relish such a measure of control are usually devoid of humor (except that unfortunate human quality – sadism)

I saw a tweet recently by George Carlin’s daughter lamenting an attempt by a Chat bot to mimic the style of her incredible father. If AI wipes us out that level of sentience would be forever lost. I don’t believe that a Universe with a sense of Irony would permit that.

Here’s what Chat had to say about “humor” – noting the common linguistic root with “human”:

The words humor and human have the root “hum” in common. Where did it come from and what does it mean?

The root “hum” in the words humor and human comes from the Latin word “humus,” which means “earth” or “soil.” The word “humus” was used in Latin to refer to the dark, organic material in soil that is formed by the decomposition of plant and animal matter.

Over time, the Latin word “humus” came to be associated with the idea of “earthiness” or “groundedness.” This sense of the word is reflected in the use of “humus” in English words like “humility,” which originally meant “the quality of being close to the ground” or “having a lowly position.”

In the case of “humor,” the root “hum” is derived from the Latin word “umor,” which was used to refer to bodily fluids, particularly those that were thought to affect a person’s mood or temperament. The sense of “humor” as a quality of temperament or disposition evolved from this original meaning, as did the related sense of “humorous” as something that is amusing or funny.

So, while the root “hum” in the words humor and human ultimately comes from the Latin word “humus,” the meanings of the two words have diverged over time to reflect different aspects of the original sense of “groundedness” or “earthiness.”

What is your understanding if any of what is humorous or funny? Have you been programmed to understand it through language?

As an AI language model, I have been programmed to understand language and its various uses, including humor and jokes. However, my understanding of what is humorous or funny is based purely on the patterns and structures of language that I have been trained on and my algorithms that detect and analyze patterns of humor in texts.

While I can recognize and analyze various forms of humor, such as puns, irony, sarcasm, and wordplay, I do not have a personal understanding or experience of humor as humans do. I do not have emotions or feelings and I am not capable of laughing or enjoying a joke in the same way that a human can.

In summary, I can understand and identify humor and funny language through my programming and language analysis capabilities, but I do not have a personal experience or emotional connection to humor like humans do.


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