The joke's on us - how AI is replicating our laughter online

June 06, 2024

Social animals that we are, humans have built important societal functions around laughter in a thousand different ways. Laughter can repair a conversation gone awry. It can signal that we support someone in a group or think we belong to a community. However, one of the social functions of laughter that interests tech giants and online app developers is its ability to soothe and to smooth. In an era in which we are increasingly reliant on digital devices and a rapidly growing online service industry, humour can be a potent form of stress relief.

Social animals that we are, humans have built important societal functions around laughter in a thousand different ways.

Laughter can repair a conversation gone awry. It can signal that we support someone in a group or think we belong to a community. It can be a flirtation device or simply suggest benevolence when engaging with others. Some people use laughter to manufacture instant feelings of trust. Others laugh at a funerals.

The short-term effects of laughter are medically proven. It can send endorphins to the brain and reduce depression and anxiety symptoms. Laughter can even raise one’s pain threshold by as much as 10%.

However, one of the social functions of laughter that interests tech giants and online app developers is its ability to soothe and to smooth. In an era in which we are increasingly reliant on digital devices and a rapidly growing online service industry, humour can be a potent form of stress relief.

Clearly, big industry players would prefer we hold on to our devices rather than angrily quitting or hitting them whenever an error 404 message appears. Or an update seems stuck at 10% completion. Laughter helps us to deal with these frustrating experiences.

If our virtual assistantscybernetic robots, and digital avatars can emote a sense of humour that pleases us, the logic is that this will help us tolerate the irksome aspects of technology.

The source of this news is from University of Sydney

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