Conversational Agents and the Construction of Humorous Acts

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    In this chapter we discuss the generation of humorous acts by embodied agents. It is observed that in future interfaces that are meant to allow natural interaction, embodied agents can play useful roles. Humor plays an important role in human-human interaction and therefore it is useful to investigate how it should become part of the internal modeling of an embodied agent, along with intelligence and emotion modeling. Employment of embodied agents will also give rise to expectations concerning intelligence, emotions and humor. We adhere to the ‘Computers Are Social Actors’ paradigm to assume that human conversational partners of embodied conversational agents assign human properties to these agents, including humor generation and appreciation. In this chapter we discuss how an embodied agent can construct a humorous act from the discourse and when it should be displayed. As an example, we zoom in on erroneous anaphora resolution. Moreover, we have some preliminary observations on the nonverbal aspects of humor generation and appreciation by an embodied agent. This chapter presents only a modest step towards the use of humor in an interface employing an embodied agent. Rather than being able to introduce algorithms for humorous act production we discuss the issues that are involved. From our observations it becomes clear that current research on affective computing, research on generating and interpreting facial expressions and research on embodied (and intelligent) agents can and should be combined with humor research. This is not only for the benefit of humor research, since results can help to design new and interesting applications in human-computer interaction using embodied agents in general.
    Original languageUndefined
    Title of host publicationConversational Informatics: An Engineering Approach
    EditorsToyoaki Nishida
    Place of PublicationChicester, England
    Number of pages27
    ISBN (Print)978-0-470-02699-1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2007

    Publication series

    PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons


    • EWI-10318
    • IR-61759
    • METIS-242177
    • EC Grant Agreement nr.: FP5/30039

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