Joke software aids language development

1 min read

A joke-generating computer programme created by Aberdeen scientists to help children develop their language skills has gone online.

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

The software was originally developed by scientists from the universities of Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh to provide children with cerebral palsy, or similar impairments, with a device to help them advance their language abilities.

The technology has since been developed into an interactive exhibit − aimed towards children of all ages and abilities − that is now on show at Aberdeen’s Satrosphere Science Centre and Glasgow Science Centre.

The launch of the online version will now allow people from across the globe to try their hand at building their very own gags.

Dr Judith Masthoff, head of Aberdeen University’s Department of Computing Science and one of a team of scientists who developed the software, said: ’The aim of The Joking Computer is to help children and adults alike to explore language in a unique and fun way.’

’All the jokes are question-answer puns, like those you get in Christmas crackers. The software allows you to see how the joke-making process works. Or you can choose roughly what sort of joke you want and have the computer build a new one.’