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In the Media: Interview with Ana Paiva – “90 Segundos de Ciência”

Ana Paiva, Full Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico and GAIPS Group Coordinator from INESC ID, is currently leading the CMU Portugal Exploratory Research Project (ERP) “AGENTS – Automatic generation of humor for social robots”,  which started under CMU Portugal 2019 ERP Call. The researcher was interviewed by 90 Segundos de Ciência about her research that is working to give robots the ability to generate humor and improve their interaction with humans.

The project proposes to bring a human touch to robotic systems, giving them the social capacity to express humor.

“But why humor? Because of the physical,  psychological and mental benefits that humor brings. We believe that giving a robot the ability to detect and express humor has a positive effect on interaction with people, and therefore we want to explore this possibility”, explains Ana Paiva to 90 Segundos de Ciência.

However, humor which is a phenomenon so natural in everyday human interactions, is difficult to capture by robots and is a real challenge for engineering.

The AGENTS project plans develop algorithms, that will enable robots to detect and generate responses and interactions based on humor. Once this ability is created in the robot, a scenario is planned for the robot to interact with people through the use of a simple game. During the game, Ana Paiva’s team will analyse the effect that the robot has on the human through physiological signals, their own answers and through the way people interact with the robot.

The project is supported through the CMU Portugal Program and combines competences of research teams from INESC-ID in the area of ​​Artificial Intelligence and Social Robotics, from ISCTE-IUL and from the Language Technologies Institute (LTI) at CMU.