What was I thinking? I’ve been so happy lately, retired and enjoying my free time, pleased with the fun I’ve had over the years in the media. And then I went and did the dumbest thing. I experimented with an Artificial Intelligence app on my phone. I began with a few pressing questions in my life like how do I get rid of the raccoon that is destroying our deck? And will the trash people take my old lawnmower? Can Donald Trump be president while in the slammer?
Here’s where it all went horribly wrong. I had been told that AI could create a story if you simply prompt the app with an idea or question. Just for fun, here is what I requested. WRITE AN ESSAY ON WHY DICK WOLFSIE IS NOT FUNNY. What you are about to read is exactly what I received. I am not making this up. It began to scroll on my phone within 10 seconds…
“Dick Wolfsie is a TV personality and writer who has been in the media for many years. He claims to have a unique brand of wit, but we beg to differ. Here are some reasons Dick is not funny.
First, he has a weird name. Sounds like a cross between a detective and a werewolf. For 30 years he has been telling stories about quirky people he met, but all the stories were boring. His jokes fell flat and he never tackled anything serious. He never challenges himself, his viewers or his readers. He plays it safe and boring. Everything is a cliché and totally predictable. He did bring his dog Barney on TV for many years. That’s what saved his career. People watched Dick on TV because of the dog. His writing often depends on horrible puns and weak punchlines. Where is the sarcasm and irony that good writing demands? Wolfsie just sticks to the same old formula.
In conclusion, Dick Wolfsie never makes people think. He just makes them yawn, turn off the TV or go to the next page of the newspaper.”
Yes, that’s what Artificial Intelligence wrote about me. For this column, I deleted anything that made me look bad. Apparently, AI scans the web and incorporates all the information they can find to create the story. My first reaction was they must have confused me with a different Dick Wolfsie. You know, another guy who was on the news with his dog and now writes a humor column.
I asked my wife to read the essay.
“Dick this is outrageous; it’s full of inaccuracies. You didn’t bore people for thirty years on TV”
“Thank you, Mary Ellen.”
“Wasn’t it closer to 40? And they said you end every column with a dreadful pun.”
“But I don’t, do I?”
“Of course not, you sprinkle them endlessly throughout the column. Along with the clichés.
“But I do tackle serious topics.”
“Without question. Who could forget your story about the guy who collects manhole covers; your column about Miracle Whip versus mayonnaise and my favorite: Why men who drink beer attract mosquitoes.”
Now, I was totally depressed. But I had an idea. My original request set me up for witty insults and criticism. This time, I’d phrase it more positively: WRITE AN ESSAY ON WHY DICK WOFSIE IS A COMEDY GENIUS!
The original request only required 10 seconds to get a response. It’s been two days now and so far I’ve seen nothing on my smart phone. AI must be still working on it.
– Dick Wolfsie spent his career sharing his humor, stories and video essays on television, radio and in newspapers. His columns appear weekly in The Paper of Montgomery County. E-mail Dick at Wolfsie@ aol.com.