'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.
From STANDUP and THE CONSTRUCTION OF A PUN GENERATOR FOR LANGUAGE SKILLS DEVELOPMENT (pdf) via KurzweilAI.
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 |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 6 )
Related News Stories -
AIREAL Lets You Feel Virtual Objects In The Open Air
'Startled, he touched his mouth. 'How the devil did you do that?' he shouted.'- Frederick Pohl, 1965.
Millimeter-Scale Computing For 'Internet of Things'
'In their megalomania they thought to make the very sand beneath their feet intelligent...'- Stanislaw Lem, 1965.
Fujitsu Touchscreen Mixes Real And Virtual Worlds
'His hands flashed over the keyboard - it had not been there a moment before, but it was operative...'- Frederik Pohl, 1965.
Nanowire Memristor Networks Form 'Brains'
'He had constructed ... a brain, of metal... whose atomic structure he claimed was analogous to the atomic structure of a living brain.'- Edmond Hamilton, 1926.
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.
Haute Cuisine On International Space Station
'The gas gave sufficient heat for the culinary apparatus...'
Tongue Mouse Created By Valve Engineer
'He pressed hard with his tongue against his right upper first molar.'
K5 Autonomous Data Machine The Future Of Mall Security
''Halt!' A robot guard appeared...'
RF Safe-Stop Shuts Cars Off
'...a police control-override.'
Army's New Bird-Like Surveillance UAV
'The prototype blue-bellied, gray-backed tracer-bird with the wide-angle eye...'
Honda's Tumblebug - The UNI-CUB beta
'A tumblebug does not give a man dignity...'
NASA's LADEE Enters Lunar Orbit
'... dust normally on the surface picks up and keeps a charge.'
3D Printing An Entire Car
"... Almost as good as the original it was printed from."
Aldebaran Robot Talks Like C3PO - Almost
'See Vee Threepio - Vee for versatility - at your service...'
Google's Skin Tattoo Lie Detector
'Three and a half centimetres in diameter, permanently fixed in the centre of his forehead.'
inFORM Dynamic Shape Output Device
Like that pushpin device you remember, but supercharged.
Owlet Vitals, The Future Of Baby Monitoring
'In every diaper there is a fine copper wire...'
Robert Heinlein, Your Personal Electric Helicopter Will Be Ready In 2016
"They were half way home when a single flyer, hopping free in a copter harness, approached the little parade."
WildCat Runs Faster Than You, Untethered
'...moving with such drifting ease that it was like a single solid cloud of black-grey smoke blown at him in silence.' Almost.
HiBot's ACM-R5H Robot Video Shows Graceful Terminator-Style Swimming
'No! No! Aaaaaaarrrrrrgh!'
tDCS Jumpstarts Your Future
'We invented a scanner that can change the labyrinthine neural connections of the brain by tiny electronic impulses...'.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories