Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"We are all repositories for genetically-encoded information that we're all spreading back and forth amongst each other, all the time. We're just lousy with information."
- Neal Stephenson

Meson Filter  
  Provides robots with the ability to tell the difference between jokes that provide a chuckle and jokes that provide a belly laugh.  

Lester the Jester decides to test his new robot comedian Rupert.

"Hey, Rupert, tell me a joke."

Rupert's mouth opened. His voice clacked out, rising and falling like a sine wave. "On what subject, sir?"

The Rholg's mechanic leaned across his flat purple chest. "That's another gimmick - a meson filter. You said you wanted him to be able to distinguish between laugh-power in different gags so he could fit them to the audience. And price was no object. That's all you have to tell a tech. They knocked themselves out developing a gadget to do the job just right..."

From The Jester, by William Tenn.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1951
Additional resources -

Rupert the robot comedian is also a very early example of a machine that is able to laugh - in this case, at his own jokes:

The robot, standing perfectly immobile, was clacking wildly, grinding his gears and pinging his wires as if he were coming apart.

"That's another bug the techs didn't have time to clean up. Comes from the meson filter. Near as we can figure out it's what they call an aftereffect of his capacity to distinguish between gags that are partly funny and gags that are very funny. Electronic differentiation of the grotesque, as it says in the specifications - in man, a sense of humor. 'Course in a robot, it only means there's a kink in the exhaust."


('The Jester' by William Tenn)

Compare to Mycroft Holmes, the computer humorist from Robert Heinlein's 1966 novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Jester
  More Ideas and Technology by William Tenn
  Tech news articles related to The Jester
  Tech news articles related to works by William Tenn

Meson Filter-related news articles:
  - Pathways Language Model (PaLM) Is No Joke

Articles related to Artificial Intelligence
Harmonia Making Generative Audio Tools For Everyone
Artists Replaced By Robots? Everyone's a Patron Now
Mem, The All-Your-Memories, Super Note-Taking App
Copilot Software AI Training Sued By Involuntary Contributors

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

MIT Robot Eel Made Up Of Voxel Segments
'It was about five feet long, a silver flexiprene-covered body like a fat snake...'

Synthetic Voices Demanded Of New Actors
'The tape-recorded synthetic voice spoke with its usual dispassionate calm'

'Courier Commons' By Tomorrow Lab, From Karl Schroeder (and Bruce Sterling?)
'The pokkecon rang again. *The coffee’s for him?* Tsuyoshi said.'

Terrifying Robotic Apple Harvester
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant.'

Mechanical Horse Sculpture Gallops In Place
'Rod placed the brain inside the panel... the horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

'Make Sunsets' Tweaks Climate By Atmospheric Alteration
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
'A white electric plane approached at great speed...'

Hotels Turn To Robots As Human Workers Regroup
'Chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
'But then... not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.