Our blogs, along with the rest of the world is consistently saying “Big Data is transforming the ______ industry.” Have you ever heard anyone say that big data is transforming comedy? Maybe not yet…but it is not far behind! The big data comedy project (arguably) began in 2002 with the Laugh Lab experiment. They spent a year gathering data on about 40,000 jokes, and over 1.5 million ratings, to find the best joke. This is the joke that took home the gold:

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, “My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator says “Calm down. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says “OK, now what?”

I’ll let you be the judge. But I’ll be honest, as a person that picks a “joke of the day” every day, I do not find this to be that funny. So clearly, big data was not all that promising for comedy in 2002.

Since then, machine learning algorithms have been used to generate jokes on our computers (paper that explains this). For the most part, I think they have accomplished their goal of amusing their audience; I tell these jokes to people in my office daily, with a response ranging from a smile or giggle, to outright laughter.

Furthermore, we cannot deny the use of big data analytics and recommendations on programs such as Netflix or even YouTube. After watching certain YouTube videos, a machine learning algorithm will recommend other funny videos I might find entertaining.

While we are a long way away from robots doing stand-up comedy, it appears as though big data is making its entrance into comedy. I’ll leave you with today’s joke of the day, that deals with big data.

“Old data analyts don’t die- they just get broken down by age and sex.”

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