Japanese comedy’s latest star is pair of robots using AI to tell jokes


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AIchan and GONta is a pair of robots, created to serve as a manzai-style stand-up comedy act. Developed by a special lab at Konan University, the two robots are supposed to trade jokes based on puns and wordplay, as manzai generally does, using an AI program to search online for information about a given theme or subject. The pair, matching the straight man (tsukkomi) and funny man (boke) combination standard in manzai, can then apparently create almost spontaneous comedy routines from this data.

Judging from the videos below, assuming readers have rudimentary Japanese language abilities, human comedians probably shouldn’t start worrying about their jobs just yet. The delivery is, well, robotic, and the pace somewhat sedate, even if the “information” being processed accurate. It begs the question: can you program a joke?


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