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Scientists want to teach robots to laugh at the right time

Scientists are trying to teach robots to laugh at the right time.

Japanese researchers are looking to take artificial intelligence to another level by developing an AI conversational system with a focus on shared laughter, which would in turn by communication between humans and robots more natural.

In a statement, Koji Inoue - assistant professor of informatics at Japan's Kyoto University and the study's co-author - said: "We think one of the important functions of conversational AI is empathy.

"Conversation is, of course, multimodal, not just responding correctly. So we decided that one way a robot can empathise with users is to share their laughter."

Their findings were published last week in the Frontiers In Robotics And AI journal after working with the robot Erica, who was programmed to respond with different levels of laughter.

Inoue continued: "The most significant result of this paper is that we have shown how we can combine all three of these tasks into one robot.

"We believe that this type of combined system is necessary for proper laughing behavior, not simply just detecting a laugh and responding to it."

The professor also predicted it could be a decade or two before AI really hits the next levle.

Inoue added: "It may well take more than 10 to 20 years before we can finally have a casual chat with a robot like we would with a friend."

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