The team used the database of cartoons to train the program to understand commonalities and differences in the millions of cartoons, which lets the AI run through the entries the New Yorker receives each week for its back-of-magazine cartoon caption contest. About 55.8% of the time the humans agree with the captions the AI selects, which is a pretty good percentage.
That means the New Yorker could use the system to eliminate at least 2,200 submissions a week without missing the gems. “On average, we saved about 50 percent of his workload.
From a technical perspective, computers have not suddenly learned a sense of humor, but they have learned how to emulate a specific style of humor. However, getting computers to “understand” humor is an important step in almost all aspects of interacting with humans and translation.