Stand-up comedy is an art form that not many people will ever perfect. For every Louis C.K., there's a thousand Last Comic Standing rejects. That's why it's all the more impressive that a robot can not only do stand-up comedy, but actually be kind of good at it.
NewScientist reports that there's a new stand-up comic on the scene named Robothespian. He was created by Engineered Arts, and it's his job to make the "weak-skinned pathetic perishable humans" laugh. Is he successful at it? Humor is entirely subjective, but one of the the world's first robot comics was able to get at least a little laugh out of me.
Besides trying to make people laugh, Robothespian is also being used to study how humans react at live events, like stand-up comedy shows. Researchers found that audience members are empathetic towards human performers because they fear that the performer will fail. If Robothespian fails to make the audience laugh, nobody will feel sorry for it. After all, it's hard to empathize with non-living things, even if it's emulating a human.
The jokes are still entirely scripted, but that may change once AI improves. For now, Robothespian can only go through a routine. That could all change though if AI becomes advanced enough to enable robots to think and speak for themselves. We may even see robots appearing in shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway?
A man can dream, right?