Sharing a laugh: Scientists teach a robot when to have a sense of humor

An example of conversation between the researchers and Erica. Credit: Inoue et al

Since at least the time of inquiring minds like Plato, philosophers and scientists have puzzled over the question “What’s so funny?” The Greeks attributed the source of humor to feeling superior at the expense of others. German psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud believed humor was a way to release pent-up energy. U.S. comedian Robin Williams tapped his anger at the absurd to make people laugh.

It seems no one can really agree on the question of “What’s so funny?” So imagine trying to teach a robot how to …

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