Dad jokes, D.A.D. jokes, and the GHoST test for artificial consciousness

Steven Gimbel, Clifton Presser, Paul Mogianesi


The ability of a computer to have a sense of humor, that is, to generate authentically funny jokes, has been taken by some theorists to be a sufficient condition for artificial consciousness. Creativity, the argument goes, is indicative of consciousness and the ability to be funny indicates creativity. While this line fails to offer a legitimate test for artificial consciousness, it does point in a possibly correct direction. There is a relation between consciousness and humor, but it relies on a different sense of “sense of humor,” that is, it requires the getting of jokes, not the generating of jokes. The question, then, becomes how to tell when an artificial system enjoys a joke. We propose a mechanism, the GHoST test, which may be useful for such a task and can begin to establish whether a system possesses artificial consciousness.


artificial intelligence, humor, consciousness, Douglas Hofstadter, Turing test

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Science & Philosophy - Journal of Epistemology, Science and Philosophy. ISSN 2282-7757; eISSN  2282-7765.