Why doesn’t ChatGPT have a sense of humor? Last year, I posted an essay titled “Do Grasshoppers Dream of Impartial Spectators?”, where I review two books: Our Great Purpose: Adam Smith on Living a Better Life by Ryan Patrick Hanley and Law and the Invisible Hand: A Theory of Adam Smith’s Jurisprudence by Robin Paul Malloy. The title of my double review is a play on words of Philip K. Dick’s dystopian science fiction novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? In my case, however, the reference to “grasshoppers” is to Walt Disney’s Jiminy Cricket, who famously admonished Pinocchio to “let your conscience be your guide”, while the reference to “impartial spectators” is to Adam Smith’s imaginary internal judge who reviews the moral status of one’s actions (see here, for example). So, just for kicks, I fed the question in the title of my essay into ChatGPT and got back the following short but humorless response:
It is unlikely that grasshoppers dream, as they do not possess the necessary brain structures for dreaming. Additionally, the concept of an “impartial spectator” is a philosophical concept that likely does not apply to grasshoppers.
For the record, I also explicitly asked ChatGPT to compare and contrast Walt Disney’s Jiminy Cricket and Adam Smith’s Impartial Spectator, and the results–along with a screenshot of Disney’s famous cricket character–are pictured below. Are there any lessons to be learned from this doomed intellectual exercise? For me, the main lesson is that ChatGPT’s sense of humor is somewhat underdeveloped.