LANCASTER, England - In the future, most satirists at The Spoof will be out of work, replaced by robots, according to the latest projections.
From ATM's to automated gas pumps to self-service checkout lanes at major retailers, service jobs are already being lost to machines on an unprecedented scale.
Now, the most important service providers of all - satirists - find themselves similarly under robotic siege.
Computer scientists at Lowton University in Lancaster, England have devised a robot that uses an algorithm to produce text composed of patterns, phrases and punctuation that typically indicates irony.
Gee whiz, what will they ever think of next.
According to Marcus Lowton, head of the research team that developed the software, "The first humanoid satirists could be submitting articles at The Spoof as early as Spring of 2011, and they have already started contributing in the forums!"
Lowton said he and his team analysed 60,000 discussion forum threads at The Spoof, carefully checking them for sarcasm, then used the data collected to create software capable of generating ironic forum commentary on its own.
Called "Incrediblous," the cheeky program was virtually indistinguishable from its human counterparts. In fact, in forum tests, the algorithm had an impressive 77 per cent success rate in generating sarcastic comments - better than some actual writers at the site.
Unless human smartasses find ways to keep up with advancing technology, Lowton estimates that more than half of The Spoof's writers could be humanoid by 2015.
Administrators say they welcome the addition of robotic writers to the site because, not only will robots work without pay like human writers, but they may also be easily unplugged if they get out of hand.