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Japan Reveals New Joking Robot, Its Jokes Leave Something to Be Desired

Take my Wi-Fi! Please!


Everyone’s a comedian—even robots! This Tuesday, Japanese scientists revealed EMIEW2, a tiny robot programmed to organically produce jokes out of conversation and (supposedly) know when an act falls flat.

EMIEW2 (pronounced like the bird—because they look hilarious, I guess?) stands for Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate. The robocomedian’s manufacturers, Hitachi, intend the 32-inch tall creation to keep people company like a “house pet” or possibly work as a receptionist, because we all know how much fun it is when receptionists make with the jokes.

So how does one program a robot to bring laughter to the masses (or the futuristic dentist’s office)? EMIEW2 is designed to pick out key words from sentences, repeat the sentence back in conversation, then formulate a response based on those specific words. It then determines whether or not the “joke” has landed by interpreting a variety of physical cues, such as nodding or tomato-throwing.

At a demonstration on Tuesday, reports that Rimshot Bot’s routines didn’t seem entirely perfected. When asked how many people work at Hitachi, EMIEW2 replied “We have two swans,” which would be very impressive if it were true. The robot then semi-saved the routine by saying “You got it? I’m kidding. We have about 800 people working here.” Zing?

Tommy Wiseau-like answers aside, obviously EMIEW2’s ability to interpret human reactions is hugely impressive. Says Hitachi’s Hisashi Ikeda, “The new technology makes it possible for a robot to understand what a human means, even if they only gesture.”

At least EMIEW2 probably doesn’t have to worry about hecklers as much as a human comedian does. After all, who would risk getting annihilated?

(via, image via Kristin N.)

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