Designed and Accidental Humor in the Smart Digital Wild

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    Humor can be designed and canned, for example as it appears in videogames, sitcoms or amusement parks. We often have humor professionals that have responsibility for this inclusion of humor. Humor can be designed for a particular occasion, for example in an April prank. However, in real life we often see humor appear spontaneously, for example when interacting with someone or we see something funny happening. We have a conversation and we see the possibility to enter a humorous remark, where the remark is ‘construed’ using information that becomes available from previous conversational exchanges and from the context of the conversation or interaction. We have control of our contribution to the conversation and can construct a humorous act. In an augmented, virtual reality or smart environment we can have a similar kind of control, using available (real and virtual) sensors and actuators that are present in these environments. In addition we can have accidental humor. Both in conversational and digitally enhanced environments accidental humor is often about misunderstandings: misunderstanding a conversational partner or a situation, or how to use technology. In the case of technology it is also about technology failures and bugs. The aim of this paper is to gather aspects of humor that we need to consider when creating humor in digitally enhanced physical worlds. In particular we look at smart outside environments, such as urban environments and playable cities. However, where useful we will make references to other smart worlds and humor creation in general as well. We provide some background on the various ways we can look at humor and the emotion it induces from different theoretical viewpoints. Discussion is devoted to the functions of humor and whether and how these functions can be present in digital environments. We discuss various worlds in which humor can be introduced, we look at the design of humor and the design of interfaces that facilitate the emerge of humor. There is no automatic creation of humor involved. Rather we see design observations on where and how to use humor techniques and design principles that, although introduced for different reasons, help to realize interfaces with unexpected and not always appreciated behaviors, increasing the chance of a humorous event.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th International Symposium on Social Communication
    Subtitle of host publicationISSC 2017
    EditorsL. Ruiz Miyares
    Place of PublicationSantiago de Cuba, Cuba
    PublisherCentro de Lingüística Aplicada
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Print)978-959-7174-31-8
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017
    Event15th International Symposium on Social Communication: Eloina Miyares Bermudez in Memoriam - Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
    Duration: 23 Jan 201727 Jan 2017
    Conference number: 15

    Publication series

    NameNuevos estudios sobre Comunicación Social
    PublisherCentro de Linguistica Aplicada


    Conference15th International Symposium on Social Communication
    CitySantiago de Cuba
    Internet address


    • EWI-27213
    • HMI-IA: Intelligent Agents
    • IR-103097
    • HMI-HF: Human Factors


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