The Atomic Playboy and the Radiation Romeo

The button below will open a new browser window displaying the Flash interface for Atomic and Romeo (Version 16 with Preloader). You will find a page of introductory text, some instructions and then the interface where you can suggest a topic for conversation.

This version 16 uses the landscape layout, updates the heckler and end-of-conversation functions with an audio sign-off. All the features from previous versions remain - scroll bar control,custId variable allows me to better log and track conversations.

The chat-bots are hosted on the Pandorabots server under the Shared Service subscription. Please note, the terms of the Updated Policy Guidelines for Free Community Server state that the “Use of automated scripts to make your pandorabot talk to itself or another bot or script” is proscribed (Pandorabots 2011). This project is being developed with the agreement of the Pandorabots Inc management and we would like to acknowledge their support. ( Pandorabots )

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After you have had a play with Atomic and Romeo please use this link to leave a comment.
Maybe you could suggest a topic of conversation or a layout suggestion.
All suggestions gratefully received.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Humour Literature and the brick wall...

Through theory we examine practice: in practice we test theory.

My literature review of the domain of humour studies has two broad ambitions.

The link between theory and practice leads to the first ambition of the literature review. The creative work at the core of this research project, the development of humorous conversational agents, needs to be grounded in a theory of humour that can encompass the interaction of human and non-human actors. I feel Bergson's theory supplies this basis. I argue that his “new law” of comedy that states, “We laugh every time a person gives us the impression of being a thing” may be tested by being inverted (Bergson 2005, p.28, Original Publication 1911). That is, will we laugh when a thing gives the impression of being a person? Testing this argument in a creative work is a substantive addition to the field. The logic of undertaking such an inversion test is based on the “Computers as Social Actors” (CASA) paradigm.

Humour has been studied from various perspectives including the psychological, social and anthropological. Each of these domains has contributed a unique theoretical understanding. However, added to these academic understandings of humour are accounts of the practice of humour. For example, Cicero’s
De Oratore can be understood as an account of the verbal techniques used to promote a cause or defend a client. Likewise, Stephen Halliwell in the introduction to his translation of Aristotle’s Poetics argues that “The Poetics … represents something in the nature of teaching materials or ‘lecture notes’, produced not as a text for private reading by anyone interested, but for instructional use in an educational context” (Halliwell in Aristotle 1995, p.4). These texts, and more modern ones, provide an insight into the link between theory and practice.

The second ambition is to provide an overview of the existing literature. This overview is structured as a chronology to make explicit the historical order of the threads and concepts that have informed the current state of humour theory.

So far this all sounds 'cool and froody' to use a Zaphod Beeblebrox expression. Truth be told - I'm a lot more like Arthur Dent than the freewheeling Zaphod. I've developed a personal relationship with a brick wall - I keep hitting my head against it and it doesn't seem to mind in the slightest.

More on this later.

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