Can a Search Engine Detect and Rank Comedy? Google Tries.

The newest funny cat on YouTube says No No No No


Look out “I Are Cute Kitten.” There’s a new cat in town, and she says No No No No. And according to research it’s the funniest video out there.
Google is trying to create an algorithm that ranks a video in terms of humor/comedy. Here’s an article about the subject, and here’s a BBC World Service Radio interview I just did live on the topic. Humor is a difficult thing for a computer to detect, but I do think we can collect viewer reactions to draw conclusions.

I spoke last year at the International Society for Humor Studies (see presentation) and the academics and psychologists were having trouble agreeing on the constructs and classifications of humor. It’s a bit like sculpting fog to predict what makes us laugh.
Can Google do it? It is a company made up mostly of engineers. It won’t be an easy or precise task, but I won’t rule it out.
Naturally I DO think that humor can be researched based on human reactions. That’s why (as seen below) I always test my videos behind one-way glass with indepth interviews and focus groups.

7 thoughts on “Can a Search Engine Detect and Rank Comedy? Google Tries.”

  1. If anybody can make an algorithm to rank funniness it’s Google, but this doesn’t look terribly innovative or sophisticated.

    I think the cat video would be funnier if the talking feline didn’t look so traumatized.

Comments are closed.