New Scientist on the dawn of the Humortron 3000:
Now Julia Taylor and Lawrence Mazlack of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio have built a computer program or “bot” that is able to get a specific type of joke – one whose crux is a simple pun. They say this budding cyber wit could lend a sense of humour to physical robots acting as human companions or helpers, which will need to be able to spot jokes if they are to be accepted and not just annoy people. The bot is also teasing apart why some people laugh at a joke, such as the one above, when most just groan.
Apparently, it’s all done with databases of possible word relationships. This is technology the folks behind Terminator never foresaw.