Wouldn’t it be cool if we could turn funny into an algorithm, wrap it up in a talking metallic box and plop it on a stage? A group of researchers has done just that–or at least they tried to–by creating a robot comedian.
The scientists from Queen Mary’s Cognitive Science Research Group created a RoboThespian “to study how the audience relates to a robot performer,” io9 reports, “and what adjustments the robot can make on the fly to better connect with its audience.”
Here is one of RoboThespian’s jokes: “I never really know how to start, which is probably because I run on Windows 8.” Also, “I understand you like it when comedians complain. You know what really pushes my buttons. That guy who’s in control of me. Am I right. You know what really turns me on. That guy.”
RoboThespian’s bougie British accent results in a delivery that is only slightly less lively than that of Ben Stein or Janeane Garofalo. At the end, the deadpan droid admits the little experiment would probably work better if all of the audience members were also robots. A fleet of stainless steel audience members who crack up at every joke is something a lot of aspiring standups have no doubt pined for, too.