Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Health & Safety

Not a great cartoon but significant in its way. Yesterday, I changed the way the algorithms work in my 'Gag Machine'. I added some flexibility about the way I can produce the results. I also added a different kind of data and took out a few fields which weren't contributing to the finished product. I also took a slightly different approach to my data. Before the changes, the majority of the results were pretty unusable. I already knew that two word combinations worked the best but only when I input certain data. After the changes, I was getting more joke material from the longer gag suggestions. A page of 30 results gave me about eight or ten good ideas for cartoons. That doesn't sound much but, previously, I might get one good joke ever one or two pages. The trick, I think, is to find a good balance between detail and the generality. A suggestion such as: 'two zombies greedily devouring peanuts in a red circus tent' is not going to be as helpful as 'two zombies eating'.

Anyway, late last night, I finished programming and I took the first page of 'long gag results' and printed them out. One caught my eye and sparked an idea and I wrote down 'Hitler dealing with the Health and Safety Nazis'. The point of  using the 'long gag' outputs is that they don't tend to produce the kind of crazy, unpublishable cartoons I've been drawing in the past week. I didn't want to draw a cartoon that was too surreal. The result was the above cartoon. I was a bit tired when drawing it but it's okay. It feels more mainstream but, personally, I think it feels less exciting. Today I intend to spend entering more data. The beauty of permutations is that the more data you can add, the number of possible outputs rises very quickly. When I have enough data to produce tens of millions of jokes, I might not feel quite so bad sharing my app with the world. Then there might even be enough jokes for everybody.


  1. Snorting with pleasure. I love peanuts.

  2. Glad you like it. I prefer walnuts, though I've not seen a single one this Christmas. :(