Israeli researchers have developed a computer algorithm capable of identifying sarcasm in written text. So what you might be wondering. Well, the novel formula could pave the way for more sophisticated communication between humans and computers – the Holy Grail of artificial intelligence.

IE: A-hole robots like Bender from Futurama. Okay, maybe that’s not a good example.

Devised by computer scientists at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the algorithm has been programmed to recognize sarcasm in lengthy texts by analyzing patterns of phrases and punctuation often used to indicate irony.

In tests on 66,000 product reviews posted on the Amazon shopping website, the algorithm had an impressive 77 per cent success rate in picking out sarcastic comments – arguably higher than some humans.

The researchers “trained” the algorithm to recognize sarcasm by teaching it nearly 5,500 sentences from Amazon reviews that human volunteers had marked as either sarcastic or non-sarcastic.

From its learned list of sarcastic phrases, the algorithm was taught to recognize patterns of words commonly used by writers to show that they do not mean to be taken literally.