Howie Mandel Is Ready for A.I. to Write His Jokes
A huge sticking point in the Writers Guild strike -- and likely an even bigger one in the upcoming Screen Actors Guild dispute -- is the use of artificial intelligence in the place of actual creative human beings. Even Piers Morgan seems to get that this could be a disaster. “(AI) could clearly impact cultural jobs,” he says. “Others fear risking the total loss of human creativity.” But fellow America’s Got Talent alum Howie Mandel doesn’t see the problem with “amazing” AI. “I am so up on technology! I love it!” he gushed to Morgan on Sky News Australia. “I think we’ve got to embrace it.”
There’s no point screaming ‘fire in the building,’ says Mandel, the reality show judge who started as a stand-up comic. “There's no way you're going to stop it so embrace technology. I always have. I embrace AI. I embrace holograms. I've actually licensed my AI image to a Korean company because I want to be able to be places and do things without being there. It makes me much more productive.” (Er … if you’re not there and you’re not doing things, are you actually being productive, Howie?)
But Howie doesn’t just want a 3D virtual stand-in, even one like this that looks intent on taking down Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. He believes it could take over the cumbersome task of creating comedy material. “I would love somebody to write for me,” he tells Morgan.
“But how would you feel artistically if an AI robot was able to write all your jokes for you and you literally had no input?” wondered Morgan, taking the side of humanity for a change. “Would you care?”
“As long as you pay me,” joked Mandel. “But the truth is what you're saying doesn't really exist. “We need humanity and creativity to prompt AI. We need to come up with the ideas of what we want AI to do.”
For someone who’s “up on technology,” however, Mandel doesn’t seem to understand that AI is perfectly capable of writing Howie-style humor with little more prompting than “Write some jokes in the style of Howie Mandel.”
In fact, that’s just what we asked ChatGPT. It took about three seconds to come up with: “You know, I went to the doctor the other day and he told me I had a case of extreme optimism. I said, ‘Doc, that’s great news!’”
A passable if hacky joke, one we could definitely hear Mandel delivering in a Vegas set. But it didn’t seem particularly tailored to Howie. We asked Bing’s AI to take a stab:
“I have a fear of germs, but I also have a fear of missing out. So I go to parties, but I don’t touch anyone. I just stand in the corner and wave. Hi, I’m Howie. Nice to meet you. From a distance.”
Now there’s a punchline we could hear Virtual Howie Hologram delivering. Looks like one America’s Got Talent judge is going to have some free time for more productivity. We asked Bing how it would feel about working with Mandel on new material.
“Well, that would be an honor.”