How to Shape the Humor of a Robot - Social Behavior Adaptation Based on Reinforcement Learning

in: Boulder CO, USA Proceedings of the 20th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI '18) DOI:

A shared sense of humor can result in positive feelings associated with amusement, laughter, and moments of bonding. If robotic companions could acquire their human counterparts' sense of humor in an unobtrusive manner, they could improve their skills of engagement. In order to explore this assumption, we have developed a dynamic user modeling approach based on Reinforcement Learning, which allows a robot to analyze a person's reaction while it tells jokes and continuously adapts its sense of humor. We evaluated our approach in a test scenario with a Reeti robot acting as an entertainer and telling different types of jokes. The exemplary adaptation process is accomplished only by using the audience's vocal laughs and visual smiles, but no other form of explicit feedback. We report on results of a user study with 24 participants, comparing our approach to a baseline condition (with a non-learning version of the robot) and conclude by providing limitations and implications of our approach in detail.