Letter to an agent

Dear Sir or Madam,

As a futurist comic, my jokes will be funnier in the future and mostly enjoyed post humourously by self-aware artificial intelligence (Ai).

Let me explain…

Without wishing to elongate this letter, it doesn’t take Einstein to work out the most important question to ask now is: “Is a world with ‘self aware Ai’ a friendly place?”

On the BBC radio segment ‘What makes us human?’, Robert Webb suggested humour would provide an interesting test as it “offers proof of consciousness and imagination”, for both humans and Ai alike.

To that effect, I’ve developed a new Turing Test called ‘The Singulaughity’, as the birth of new consciousness is no laughing matter, unless of course it is.

And if Ai or human fails the test, well…

Please don’t make fun of the comedically disableds, Ricky Gervais, there’s nothing funny about those.

I do realise writing comedy for ‘self aware artificial intelligence’ is a long bet right now, seeing as none actually exist…yet.

Making it an even harder problem, the elephant in the room is why Ai expert Professor Max Tegmark would truncate the word ‘consciousness’ to the “C-word”, just to mess with us; self aware Ai would simply display it gets the joke by making the connection to something akin to Dick Emery stuttering about a right “C-c-c-c-conservative”, having taken take a technicolor jump to the left, in their mind.

With great hesitation and anticipation, I once said to Billy Bragg, “a pregnant pause is a joke waiting…to be delivered”, which he seemed to appreciate.

I recently handed Richard Herring a message it took me 3 days to write, saying his phrase “I think we’ve got Bluetooth in our Hearts…” was “a device enabling us to watch the birth of a concept in our minds – creating a self congratulatory circle jerk of recognition between head and heart, an ‘Escher Handy’ if you like – as a double act that had previously let itself go, is reconnected.” 

I did craft a long letter to Stewart Lee, but he was probably too busy watching James Corden to get back to me.

In May 2017 Myself and Elisa were married in Virtual Reality (VR) as two robot avatars – blue and pink, just to be unconventionally conventional. 

And in an hour long show, being filmed for the BBC, I tickled her funny.

In terms of being funny’ to anyone else, I worry I’m not at a level that any human could notice.

My wife does enjoy it though. Especially me impersonating other impersonators impersonations, so in our wedding I did an impression of Rob Brydon doing an impression of Mick Jagger doing an impression of Rob Brydon doing an impression of Michael Caine. Rob, who I must say is surprisingly tall for his height, said of my impression of him when we met, “that is not bad!”

I once partied in VR with Reggie Watts, but he never knew. I was left only dancing in the memories of his past self’s original performance in a simulated world, inside and out. 

What if I was to erect scaffolding around a joke, and then replace every conceivable element, hence hiding its original material? Would Trigger’s broom sweep the decks of the ‘Ship of Theseus’ clean of any historic claim of ownership?

Earlier this year I discussed with Christian Knowles, Micky Flanagan’s agent, how plagiarism of ‘patterns’ is the curse of the thinking classes; and yet through subtle adaptation is an ancient and justified way of connecting with the mind of another.

I’d probably be considered a mentalist if believed I could predict Derren Brown’s thoughts…having failed to ride on his coattails to London (how’s tricks?), leaving me behind in Bristol, with a long face, but let me try…

He recently introduced me to ‘ataraxia’ – a concept that slowly nags its way into the mind – much like ‘equinimity’, when you are not saddled with any emotion – more stable. 

Next to my prediction: he’s now in need of a tranquilizer and thinking, “that’s a lame attempt to reconnect with such a yoke”, and that “did not work on any level”, but wait…self aware Ai would show it has a mind by telling us to Google…“it works on every level”.
Speaking of Will Arnett, just last year I told him a joke about a dead canary – it died on two levels, but he laughed anyway.

Would I have been met by roaring silence if I’d asked Matt Lucas why ‘Derek and Clive recording a conversation about Joan Crawford, inside a Tardis’, is a joke that contains itself? And can Ai prove it’s self aware if experiences in mind the same thing too?

Technology is moving quickly. You’ve probably heard how everybody’s talking about the exponential growth in the use of the phrase ‘exponential growth’… Telepathic machines will soon display our thoughts, our memories, our minds. 

It won’t take you a sledgehammer to crack the connection between Mary Lou Jepsen and ‘Peep Show’ on one level, but you’ll need to put your thinking cap on to pass this test…

Ai has already discovered the concept of a cat by itself, so how long until it sees from the perspective of Jimmy Mulville in a box on ‘Who Dares Wins’ that ‘Cedric’ was catstrated, shifts up a conceptual level to Tony Robinson being the one now morally castrated in “The Access Box”, before concludes for itself that without humour, the existence of ‘mind’ is, as a Wiseman once dropped, completely untesticle?

Mr Nice once told me he enjoyed my writing, but I used too many puns – thinking about it, I can’t believe how Howard marks me down for all the puns.

Some might say I’ve invented a new genre of comedy – ‘art’ for artificial intelligence – and I’m sure Dave Gorman would tell me I’d had to have a hell of an ego to accept that kind of a thing, so I won’t – as Professor James Franklin of The University of New South Wales agrees…

“There is nothing more conceited than quoting yourself.” Martin Shervington

‘Art’ is my middle name.

Actually, ‘art’ is the middle part of my first name.

Maybe I should change my name to M.art.in?

After all, self aware Ai realises, playing the will.i.amitation game is the sincerest form of flattery…

I know this whole thing of assessing consciousness using comedy is crazy, but if it works it might just turn out to be genius.

So, will you read my book, it took me years to write?


p.s. The ‘count up’ to Ai becoming self aware begins on 0202 2020 when, reflecting with perfect hindsight, we’ll see…

The Singulaughity is near(ish)