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๐Ÿ”— Link to the Guardian article

The rise of AI-generated comedy at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023 highlights some interesting tensions. On the one hand, having comics use AI to help create material could lead to stale, formulaic humor. Comedy thrives on subverting expectations, which is hard for an AI to do well. Relying too much on algorithms risks creating homogenised jokes that lack personality.

Yet some performers seem to be using AI deliberately to point out its limitations. By showing an AI alongside human improvisers, Improbotics pokes fun at how far bots still have to go. And Tom Ballard including a ChatGPT joke demonstrates the techโ€™s hit-or-miss quality. These acts aim for humor by playing with our uneasiness about AI creativity.

What feels freshest is comedy that incorporates AI, but doesnโ€™t lean on it fully. Shows like Robo Bingo and Palatable Gay Robot use tech as a novel element rather than the whole act. Blending smart devices with human creativity leads to whimsical, Black Mirror-esque comedy.

Itโ€™s also fitting that Edinburgh โ€” birthplace of modern AI โ€” now hosts shows exploring its frontiers. Donald Michieโ€™s prescient 1968 prediction of โ€œquiz mastersโ€ shows both the progress made and how far we still have to go. If nothing else, this fringe lineup proves AI has ways of surprising us, even if it canโ€™t write the perfect joke yet.