'STANDUP' Computer Comedian

The STANDUP project (System To Augment Non-speakers' Dialogue Using Puns) is a collaborative project between the School of Computing at the University of Dundee, the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, and the Department of Computing Science at the University of Aberdeen, funded by EPSRC (the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council).

(STANDUP screen shot)

We have explored how humour may be used to help non-speaking children learn to use language more effectively. There is evidence to suggest that language play, including using puns and other jokes, has a beneficial effect on a child's developing language and communication skills. Children with communication impairments are often reliant on augmented communication aids in order to carry on conversations, but these aids give little scope for generating novel language. This inhibits experimentation with language and limits the trying out of humorous ideas, which can in turn have a stultifying effect on language development. We have begun to address this deficiency in the language environment of the non-speaking child by providing a software tool which promotes humorous language play.

Starting from our previous research on the automated generation of punning riddles, we have designed and implemented a program which allows the user to experiment with the construction of simple jokes. The user interface of this system has been specially designed to be accessible to children with communication and physical disabilities. We have carried out tests of the usability and appropriateness of the system by observing and evaluating the use of our software by children.

You can even download the software, if you like.

When I saw this program, I thought immediately of the robot comedian from William Tenn's 1951 short story The Jester.

However, a closer fit would probably be the verse transcriber from Studio 5, The Stars by J.G. Ballard:

I was pasting down one of Xero's satirical pastiches of Rubert Brooke and was six lines short. I handed Tony the master tape and he played it into the IBM, set the meter, rhyme scheme, verbal pairs, and then switched on, waited for the tape to chunter out of the delivery head, tore off six lines and passed them back to me. I didn't even need to read them.

For the next two hours we worked hard, at dusk had completed over 1,000 lines and broke off for a well-earned drink.

Even earlier, sf great Stanislaw Lem described an electronic bard in his 1965 story The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age:

Trurl let the machine warm up first, kept the power low, ran up the metal stairs several times to take readings ) the machine was like the engine of a giant steamer, galleried, with rows of rivets, dials and valves on every tier) - till, finally satisfied all the decimal places were where they ought to be, he said yes, it was ready now...

Now that the potentiometers indicated the machine's lyrical capacitance was charged to the maximum, and Trurl, so nerous his hands were shaking, threw the master switch.

Update: Thanks to Ashley, we can look at another early reference, the mechanical jokester from Isaac Asimov's 1956 story Jokester; it's one of the stories about Multivac. End update.


Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/10/2013)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 6 )

Related News Stories - (" Computer ")

Algorithm Predicts Marriage Success (HAL 9000 Will See You Now)
'I can tell from your voice harmonics, Dave, that you're badly upset....' - Arthur C. Clarke

Microsoft's Surface Book Is Part Clipboard
'Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man's quest for perfect communications...' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1968.

LineFORM MIT's Shape-Changing Interface
'For an interval, the device struggled with itself...' - Philip K. Dick, 1957.

Piper, Google's 2 Billion Line Code Repository, Needs A Cool Display
'The student pointed a finger and as he did so, the line of equations marched down the wall...' - Isaac Asimov, 1953.


  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 Invention Timeline, or see what's New.






Current News

Solowheel Xtreme Heinlein Tumblebug Video
'The cadets 'stood to horse' alongside their poised tumblebugs...'

Algorithm Predicts Marriage Success (HAL 9000 Will See You Now)
'I can tell from your voice harmonics, Dave, that you're badly upset....'

Denmark Island Earth (Verdenskortet ala Ringworld)
'They wanted to keep something of what they were losing...'

Humai Startup To Implant Your Brain In Robot Body
'The astounded onlookers saw a human brain snugly encased in a transparent skull-shaped receptacle.'

Blue Origin Reusable Rocket's Vertical Landing
We're getting there, one launch at a time.

X125 Snake-Arm Inspection Robot Video
'... long, flexible, glittering tentacles...'

Super-Thin Smart Glazing Displays
'...a wide sheet of clear material suddenly flared with light and swirling color.'

Have Scientists Found A Parallel Universe Leaking Into Ours
'Ellis had found a weak point, a shimmer, at which another continuum completely had been visible.'

Active Wellness Smart Car Seat
'Maybe the car was right...'

Tech Tats Prototype Sfnal Devices
'...Permanently fixed in the centre of his forehead.'

ANNABELL AI Can Learn English From Scratch
'...Could understand not only classic programming but also Loglan and English..."

Tesla Suit Gives Haptic Hugs
'Then a pressure on the lips...'

Surgically Implantable Artificial Kidney Starts Testing
'George Walt... proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...'

Self-Filling Water Bottle Is Beetle-Based
'That moisture trickles down...'

Senate Passes Space Mining Legislation
'The law of filing on newly discovered asteroids was definite...'

Microsoft's Surface Book Is Part Clipboard
'Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man's quest for perfect communications...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.