Animals will always be cuter than humans. And robots will always be smarter. No one, though, will be funnier than us. We are the only entities on this planet capable of both conjuring and being able to appreciate the tightness and inherent tension of a well-told joke. That doesn’t mean the aforementioned entities aren’t trying to catch up. Animals are realizing that all they need to do to be funny is “pretend they’re people.” Robots, on the other hand, are relying on technological advancements for yuks.
They’re coming along, too, with artificial intelligence assistants like Siri, Alexa, Assistant, and Cortana all developing their own stand-up routines. All you need to do is ask them to tell you a joke.
One Wired journalist, Brent Rose, was given the unenviable task of deciding which of these digital personalities was funnier by bringing a selection of each assistant’s best jokes to an open mic night. With side-splitters like, “A ham sandwich walks into a bar. The bartender says, ‘We don’t serve food here,’” things weren’t bound to go too well for him.
Not all the jokes bombed, though. Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Assistant actually had a few good zingers, probably because both brought on actual writers—the latter even recruited a few Onion staffers—to help give their AI more natural personalities. Siri, however, is the friend you’d never, ever want to bring to a party.
Even if you’re not interested in technology, the video is a good watch for that inimitable sense of schadenfreude that accompanies watching a well-intentioned rube spiral into a flaming wreck onstage.