Researchers Are Teaching A Robot To Laugh Like Us; Do We Really Need It?


Modern-day AI tools are capable of achieving the unimaginable. They can easily perform tasks that are too complex for humans. However, there are times when AI can fail miserably at performing the most basic tasks, all due to the lack of human touch. Now, scientists at Kyoto University are trying to teach AI to laugh when speaking to humans, reports Frontiers.

Researchers Are Teaching A Robot To Laugh Like Us; Do We Need It?

The team has built a shared-laughter model that enables an AI tool to detect human laughter and join them in the laughter. AI tools are yet to have the nuances of human conversations such as jokes and puns, and training them to do so will also be a difficult task.

Shared Laughter Prediction System

Each human being has different laughter, ranging from normal chuckles to snorting hysterics, each used for a specific kind of conversation. To get past this hurdle, the team used a method known as shared laughter prediction. This approach will have an AI system respond with empathetic laughter when it detects the person it is speaking to is laughing.

They tested three models but shared laughter was the most promising one in terms of achieving a more natural tone. The team trained the system by feeding it chat cues that humans use when in a social setting.

Still A Far-Fetched Dream

The shared laughter model was created with the humanoid robot named Erica in mind. Erica emulated a speed dating scenario with a human, and all the conversations lasted around 10-15 minutes. Each conversation was fed to a system to create a custom model.

The team’s paper published in the "Frontiers in Robotics and AI" journal suggests that "the perception of shared laughter is influenced by the scenario and type of laugh used and emphasize the importance of proper empathetic laughs."

The researchers are now planning to use more languages with a bigger sample dataset to make these human-robot interactions better. Dr. Koji Inoue, a Kyoto University professor, believes it might be still 10-20 years before humans can “finally have a casual chat with a robot like we would with a friend."

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