Chat-bot Humour: A Survey of Methodological Approaches for a Creative New Media Project

By Michael M. Meany and Tom Clark.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper surveys a range of methodological approaches to underpin a creative project that will develop a pair of online, computer-based conversational agents to interact as “comedian” and “straight man”. The project will interrogate the scriptwriting process as it is applied to a pair of interacting chat-bots: a confluence of human and non-human agency. This survey is necessary due to the project’s trans-disciplinary nature; it borrows from information science, drama and scriptwriting, creativity theory, humour theory, and interactive design. “Ontology and epistemology can be considered as the foundations upon which research is built. Methodology, methods and sources are closely connected to, and built upon, our ontological and epistemological assumptions” (Grix 2004, p. 58). These ontological and epistemological foundations are often viewed as tacit knowledge within the disciplines, however, there appears to be little agreement across disciplines. Positioned in this manner, the researcher is implicated inside larger research structures in much the same manner as the creative individual is implicated in the systemic view of creativity offered by Csikszentmihalyi (1999; 2003). This is not a privileged position. The researchers themselves operate within same “discourses and traditions” as the object of study, “consequently, knowledge is theoretically or discursively laden” (Marsh and Furlong 2002, p. 26). The purpose of this paper is to explore these issues from a variety of disciplinary perspectives to make the implicit explicit.

Keywords: Ontology, Epistemology, Conversational Agents, Creativity, Humour, Scriptwriting

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.23-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 223.428KB).

Dr. Michael M. Meany

Senior Lecturer, School of Design, Communication and IT, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Michael Meany is a senior lecturer in communication at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Michael’s background includes careers as a freelance writer, a typesetter and publication designer, and as a playwright. From these varied careers, Michael brings to his research an eclectic mix of skills. His research interests include: script writing, and narrative and interactive media design. His Ph.D research topic is the development of humour in artificial intelligence agents.

Dr. Tom Clark

Senior Lecturer, School of Communication and the Arts, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Tom Clark has worked in a range of fields including political advisory roles and studies in medieval Germanic poetry. He completed his Ph.D in the Department of English at the University of Sydney, awarded in 2003, which comprised a study of irony in the Old English poem, Beowulf. He has published refereed articles on higher education policy, as well as a monograph version of his Ph.D thesis. He is currently developing a comparative international research project to examine improvised and semi-improvised public language in the fields of sport, politics, business, and satire.


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