What one person finds funny, another might find bland, even offensive. With that in mind, Ken Goldberg, an engineering professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and Tavi Nathanson, a Berkeley computer-science student, have created Jester 4.0, a Web site that claims to reliably tickle users’ funny bones. Here’s how it works: a visitor goes to Jester and rates eight jokes on a scale of “less funny” to “more funny.” A computer algorithm—which Berkeley patented in 2003—then uses the data to determine which jokes will most appeal to the user. Jester forwards these jokes to the user.
When I visit the site I’m first asked to rate this joke:
Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: That’s not funny.
According to a February article in the Berkeleyan, entrepreneurs are interested in making the site commercial.—Andrea L. FosterReturn to Top