Nine terrible AI-generated jokes about Swedish things

Artificial Intelligence programmes such as ChatGPT have made headlines worldwide for writing scarily accurate essays, poems, and even newspaper articles. We decided to ask ChatGPT to tell us some jokes about Swedish things, and here's what happened.

Nine terrible AI-generated jokes about Swedish things
The ChatGPT tool can write such impressive paragraphs of human-like text that schools in New York have started blocking it. We used it to tell jokes instead. Photo: AP Photo/Peter Morgan via TT

How does this work?

We’re using ChatGPT, an open-source AI model designed for dialogue. Essentially, you type in a question and it generates a response. After testing its article-writing skills (which in some cases were pretty good, in others… not so much), we decided to test how good it was at telling jokes.

Spoiler alert: they were awful.

First off, I asked the AI to “tell us a joke about Stockholm”.

Why was the Stockholm fish so bad at dancing? Because it had two left fins!

Screenshot: The Local

Did you get it? Because I didn’t. I gave it another chance.

Why did the tomato turn red in Stockholm? Because it saw the Swedish meatball!

Screenshot: The Local

Not much better, although this one had at least some reference to Sweden.

I took the AI’s cue for the next one and asked it to tell us a joke about meatballs instead.

Why don't Swedish meatballs like to dance? Because they're too meaty to boogie!

Screenshot: The Local

As I was quickly realising that the jokes were getting a bit meatball-heavy, I went for a different tactic, asking it to “tell us a joke about the northern lights”.

Why did the aurora borealis go to the doctor? Because it was feeling a little polarized!
Screenshot: The Local

Okay, so they do seem to be getting at least a bit better. Maybe the AI is learning how to tell better jokes after all. Let’s ask it to tell us a joke about the King of Sweden.

Why did the king of Sweden wear a crown?  Because he was the ruler of the monarchy!  Note that some of the humor may not make sense due to the lack of context, I recommend using these jokes carefully.
Screenshot: The Local

Yeah, scrap that, it’s definitely not getting better. This one even came with its own disclaimer. Also, as an aside, the King of Sweden is famous for not wearing a crown: he never had a coronation.

Next up: “Tell us a joke about a cinnamon bun”.

Why was the cinnamon roll feeling down?  Because it was feeling a little bun-der-pressure!

Screenshot: The Local

Is it just me or is this one actually funny? Have I been writing this article for too long? Is this a cry for help? Maybe.

Anyway, let’s ask it for a joke about herring.

Why was the herring so bad at telling jokes?  Because it always felt like it was fishing for a punchline!

Screenshot: The Local

Again, this one genuinely made me laugh. Next up, midsummer. This time, I asked it to “tell us a joke about a Swedish Midsummer celebration”.

Why did the Swede wear a flower crown at Midsummer celebration?  Because it was having a fika-tastic time! (Fika means having a coffee break and chat with friends or coworkers in swedish)

Screenshot: The Local

Has anyone told the AI that jokes usually become less funny when you explain them?

By this point, I was getting a bit tired of the traditional joke format and decided to try and get it to tell us a joke about Swedish politics. It refused, saying that it was not “appropriate to create jokes about political situations in general as it might be considered offensive and disrespectful for some people”.

So I asked it to write a standup comedy routine about Swedish politics instead. Here’s a section of it (the rest of it involved a sketch about the Swedish Prime Minister being caught eating a herring sandwich on public transport and compliments on him making Sweden a “renewable energy powerhouse” with “some of the most humane prisons in the world”).

Comedian: "I mean, have you seen the state of Swedish politics lately? It's like a never-ending game of 'Who's the Least Terrible?' And the Prime Minister? He's just the least terrible of them all. It's like going on a date with the girl who's 'not as bad as the others' "

Screenshot: The Local

The AI is clearly not a fan of Swedish politics, or the Swedish prime minister (it may be important to note here that this AI was programmed in 2021, when Stefan Löfven was still Sweden’s prime minister, so this is more of a slight on him than current PM Ulf Kristersson).

I then tried to get it to tell me a joke about visiting Ikea, but by this point I got an error message stating I’d made too many requests, so I’ll end with this: a nice little haiku I asked it to write about Stockholm.

Stockholm's water flows, In canals and archipelago, Nature's beauty glows.

Screenshot: The Local

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Swedish gaming company replaces half its staff with AI

Gothenburg-based gaming company Mindark is letting almost half of its staff go, reports trade union magazine Kollega.

Swedish gaming company replaces half its staff with AI

Instead, the company will invest in training AI to build its gaming worlds. In total, 25 jobs are set to be replaced by AI. 

The use of artificial intelligence is meant to streamline the company’s work and enable it to resume paying out dividends to shareholders, Mindark CEO Henrik Nel Jerkrot wrote in an email to shareholders in mid-August, reports Kollega.


Per Strömbäck, spokesperson for the Swedish Games Industry, believes there are two options when it comes to using AI in gaming companies.

“For example, they can become more ambitious and do more with the same resources, or they can carry out the same work at a lower cost,” he told Kollega.