Exhibit features Joking Computer

1 min read

A new exhibit launched at the Glasgow Science Centre will give children from across Scotland the chance to create their very own Christmas-cracker gags this festive season.

The Joking Computer has the capacity to build millions of different jokes using a large dictionary of language and simple language rules.

Developed by computing scientists from Aberdeen University in partnership with the Glasgow Science Centre, the project received £105,000 of funding for public engagement from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to create the exhibit, which is intended to teach young people about what computing technology can achieve.

The software used in the Joking Computer exhibit was initially developed to help children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy build on their language skills.

Dr Judith Masthoff from Aberdeen University’s Department of Computing Science said: ‘The original software used in the Joking Computer was generated through a project between Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh universities.

‘The aim was to provide software that children with cerebral palsy, or similar impairments, could use to explore language,’ she added. ‘By playing with words and phrases and teaming up with the computer to make jokes, the disabled children who originally trialled the software would get practice with language and would also have jokes of their own to tell their friends.’

The development of the exhibit for the Glasgow Science Centre grew from that original project.

Some of the jokes created by the Joking Computer include:

  • Q: What kind of tree is nauseated?
  • A: A sick-amore
  • Q: What do you get when you cross a frog with a road?
  • A: A main toad
  • Q: What do you get when you cross a mum with an award?
  • A: A prize mummy