What do you expect to get when a joke-narrating robot and a robotics engineer go into a bar? Live comedy is what you get. Naomi Fitter, who is fond of stand-up comedy, combined her passion with her background in robotics engineering, and the result was Jon, reported Time. Jon is an autonomous robotic stand-up comic who cracks jokes while making mild gestures with its tiny articulated arms. A handler has to press the button and hold the mic while Jon – the robot repeats the same jokes in a similar order. However, Jon is learning to come up with different responses based on the way the audience interacts with its jokes. How long the audience laughs decides the timing of his delivery and the noise level in the room decides its one-liner responses.
Naomi shared a video on her YouTube channel to show the world how her robotic stand-up comic Jon works.
Jon’s one of the jokes goes like this: “Don’t you hate it when you’re trying to solve inverse kinematics equations to pick up a cup and then you get ‘Error 453, no solution found’? Don’t you hate that?”
Although Artificial Intelligence (AI) can perform functional tasks like detecting tumors, playing games, and reading maps way faster, linguistic humor is an area where humans still dominate. AI Jon works effectively only because of its programming that has been done by a human. It would be a scientific breakthrough to be able to teach AI to be genuinely funny because that would need a proper and detailed understanding of the human psyche. An AI that can do that could be capable of much more than merely cracking original jokes.
Humans have access to vast mental libraries of linguistic nuances and cultural references to draw humor from but an AI’s library consists of only the information that we, humans decide to feed it with. To make AI make us laugh, we have to be transparent about what kind of humor we want to teach it.
Joe Toplyn, writer and producer of comedy talk shows, presented a research paper outlining Witscript at the International Conference on Computational Creativity last year. According to the Time report, Witscript is a joke-generation system that reads a database of TV-monologue jokes, identifies certain keywords and thus a relevant punch line is created. Witscript, patented by Toplyn, allows a chatbot to respond with humor to users’ queries without derailing the interaction. According to Toplyn, it is designed to make chatbots more human-like.