University of Zurich
July 5 - 10, 2010
I've submitted an abstract for the Symposium. Hopefully, it will be accepted. I'd like to test some of the ideas on this audience.
Title: Testing an inversion of Bergson’s ‘new law’ of humour.
Keywords: Artificial intelligence, scriptwriting, agency, humour.
This presentation offers an overview of a PhD project that interrogates of the scriptwriting process as it is applied in a new media, online environment as a confluence of human and non-human agency. The study is underpinned by the theoretical perspectives of humour theory, Actor Network Theory (Callon, Latour, Law et al), the Computers as Social Actors paradigm of Reeves and Nass, and Csikszentmihalyi’s Creativity Theory. The exploration of humour provides the opportunity to explore “what it means to be human by moving back and forth across the [unstable] frontier that separates humanity from animality” and by extension, the frontier between the human and the non-human in general (Critchley, 2002, p.28). Henri Bergson, in his seminal essay on laughter, stated a “new law” of humour, “We laugh every time a person gives us the impression of being a thing” (Bergson 2005, p.28, Original Publication 1911). This project integrates human agency (the scriptwriter and the scriptwriting process) with the nonhuman agency of the artificial intelligence of chatbots (the interface and the scripted processes). As such, it tests if Bergson’s law will stand if it is inverted; will we laugh every time a thing gives the impression of being a person?
- Bergson, H. (2005). Laughter: An essay on the meaning of the comic. Mineola, New York, Dover Publications Inc.
- Callon, M. (1999). Actor-network theory: The market test. In Law, J. & Hassard, J., eds. Actor network theory and after, pp. 181–95. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Critchley, S. (2002). On Humour: Thinking in Action. New York and London, Routledge.
- Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997). Creativity: flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York, Harper Collins.
- Reeves, B. and C. Nass (1996). The Media Equation: how people treat computers, television, and new media like real people and places. New York, Cambridge University Press.