Laughter is the Best Medicine

Is AI Ready For Improv Comedy?

(slow electronic music) The university of Alberta has a lot going for it. It’s pretty. Its bear collection is on point. (slow electronic music) And it’s home to many an
eccentric and clever inventor. Are you human? Of course not, but that
shouldn’t keep us from chatting. Like this fella, Kory Mathewson, an AI researcher who
comes with a sidekick. (slow electronic music) Tell me about this guy a
little bit, or is this it? Sure. (both laugh) So this is Blueberry. On Blueberry, I’ve
deployed the improv system. So there’s an artificial
improv system running on Blueberry right now. Yes, that’s right. Kory does improv comedy with a robot. I’ve been doing improv longer than I’ve been doing computing science. I’ve been doing it for 12 years and I thought, you know, there’s no more natural convergence than taking some of these state of the art systems and putting them up on stage. One day, we’ll make it to the moon if this planet is not to be our last. I keep thinking there’s,
like, a ventriloquist or this is like a new age. That’s a really good way to put it, yeah. With a strange twist on it. The piece that’s different is that I don’t know what it will say. Anything that comes from the system, it’s generating live in the moment. Blueberry I created you. I downloaded a voice into your brain so that you could perform
in front of these people. So they do not know
what I am going to say? I don’t know what you’re
going to say either! To give Blueberry the power of surreal Canadian improv, Kory first had to create an AI that could bring the funny. Step one: he feeds Blueberry the dialogue from a bunch of movies,
102,000 movies to be exact. All the movies, every movie for 100 years. And that’s just so it can learn language, see how somebody responds
to somebody else. That’s exactly right, it builds
kind of a language model. Step two: he trains Blueberry just like you’d train a dog. Rewarding it when it makes sense, and punishing it when
it spits out gibberish. Time to put this wannabe
Kid in the Hall to the test. Here we go. Start improvising. Okay campers, we’re going to get ready for a real baseball game! Grab your gloves and
grab your baseball bats, and let’s get out there! Especially you, Franklin! Okay, okay. Well, why aren’t
you ready for the match? Okay, come on Franklin, you
know how I feel about you, but you’ve gotta keep your
head in the game right now. He’s threatening you! I know! Oh Jesus, put down the bat,
Franklin! What are you doing? I’ve got nothing to hide. Look! This is all I am! Okay, we’ll end it there. That’s great! That’s how it works. Obviously, some of the responses
are a little bit weird, but then it’s really funny, because then as you’re going along, it did hit a couple of things perfectly, and then it’s like, it’s extra hilarious, because now it’s going. Blueberry may not be ready for its Second City audition just yet. But Kory has a higher
purpose: making AI relatable. Oh it’s gonna move, it’s gonna move. (laughter) There is a fear in society of AI. So, we are kind of humanizing this AI. We’re taking it down a peg, we’re saying don’t be afraid of this tech, look at how cute it is, look
at how kind of naive it is. (laughter) You’ve done it again, Blueberry! Isn’t there a flip side to that though? Then you make it cute and then
people start to accept it? You know, then we wake up and…? (laughter) I mean, I don’t think that
will happen in my time. Hm. I’m sorry you had to hear that, Blueberry. When you’re ready to turn
Kory into a human puppet, give me a ring, and
we’ll bring the cameras.

56 thoughts on “Is AI Ready For Improv Comedy?

  1. I appreciate this guy's knowledge but one particular thing I want to say is.. don't create emotional intelligence to machines.. its OK to have robots around us without emotional intelligence ..but emotional intelligence in a machine will lead to a path of human destruction….!

  2. I had the chance to work a bit with Kory many years ago doing improv, and I've gotta say this thing looks very cool! He's a great guy, and this tech will only keep developing from here, but such an interesting way to combine two of his interests in doing improv and computer science! Way to be man!

  3. the robot is an NAO built by aldebaron robotics, for the purposes of creating AI with empathy. why does the title say it was designed to make people laugh, and no mention of the company that makes it?

  4. Blueberry already HAS turned Kory into a human puppet. Kory's as effective at programming consciousness as Blueberry is at realizing it.

  5. Kory was my Level 2 Improv teacher. Not surprised he would create a robot with emerging AI to advance the "art."

  6. This is so cool, sure it might sound a bit goofy right now, but imagine what this tech could do in 20 years or so…

  7. I didn't hear any of them give a single example of how this technology could be applied in a positive, practical, non-deceptive manner other than to say that they created the technology so that they could make people cautious of it. Shame on this reporter for not pressing them for a better reason.

  8. A detail: was it fed the quotes for the all of the movies collection, or the entire scripts? I know of a database of quotes, but I do not know of a database of full scripts

  9. That sounded like nonsensical gibberish to me. The guy was just having to mold the scene around what came out of the robot.

  10. like all the other ai's they get vilolent like humans are all ais to worry about or are we ment to worry they have lernt it from us so it must be how we really are

  11. That part about making it cute and nieve totally made me feel like those clips of how it begain. Like 30 years in the future it trasitions to the steps leading up to the AI epidemic 😅

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