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

"[Science fiction] has become big business, where books are merchandised and promoted and distributed and placed on sale like slabs of bacon or cans of soup."
- Frederik Pohl

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."

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

Articles related to Artificial Intelligence
LawGeex AI Beats 20 Top Lawyers
Still Wondering If You'd Work For A Robot Boss?
CIMON Space Sidekick For Weary Astronauts
Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors

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 Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Wound Healing With Wearable Nanogenerators
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to ... erase the other internal-external damage.'

Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.

Negative Matter Fluid Theorized In New Paper
'Of course, being negative matter, when you push it, it comes toward you..'

Grow Structures Upon Planetfall - Myco-Architecture
'They'll also start pulling in gases and liquids from the local atmosphere...'

MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...'

EXPLORER, The First Total-Body Scanner
'The object is built up of an infinite series of plane layers, at the focus of the ray...'

UK Police AI To Stop Criminals Before They Strike
'... the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'

Sonitus Audio Interface Positioned Beyond The Noise
'... an instrument having relatively small bit pieces adapted to be gripped between the teeth.'

Volvo's Self-Driving Mining Trucks
'A procession of automatic ore carts was racing over the bleak slag'

Audi Pop.Up Autonomous Electric Flying Car
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble of light metals and plastics...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.