Some of us are good at making bad jokes, while others are bad at telling good jokes. With that in mind, a Japanese robotics company proceeded to building a comedian robot that should be great at telling the best jokes around.
Not all people appreciate humor the same way. What some find terribly risible, others may consider it tasteless. Humor is a matter of culture, and is not treated the same in all countries. Kobian, the product of researchers at Waseda University, is meant to cause belly ache in the inhabitants of the country of the rising sun, and that through a lot of jokes.
If you’ve ever watched any Japanese TV shows, you already know that this nation has a very weird taste of humor. Kobian is not that different, in that his jokes will mostly be considered funny by the Japanese folk. In other words, he’s big in Japan, but not so much elsewhere.
Kobian had some sketches written for him, and you see a bit of his performance in the following video. Volunteers were invited to witness Kobian’s stand-up comedy display, and their reactions were recorded using EMG sensors, video cameras and accelerometers. The cameras were used for detecting smiles and laughter, to determine if Kobian is amusing enough.
The developers of Kobian are already thinking about writing new routines for him, which will be tested on larger audiences. It should be noted that Kobian’s effect on Japanese and western audiences might differ drastically, given the cultural differences.
I’ve been in many situations when I couldn’t stop laughing because of something, while others didn’t even smile. Black humor, British comedy shows, you name it! This is among the things that differentiate me the most from the surrounding people, and I’m glad to have found someone with the same taste of humor as mine. While it’s clear that people can have a completely different appetite for various types of humor, it’s nice to know that there’s someone out there that laughs at exactly the same jokes as you do.
I wonder what other types of robots will be developed in the near future, as it’s pretty clear that we’ll be jobless pretty soon. Good thing that these metallic bipedal things don’t have a mind of their own… yet!
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