Your report (Scientists attempt to educate robotic to snigger on the proper time, 15 September) jogged my memory of Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s 1998 play Comedian Potential. Besides that within the play, the robotic didn’t should be taught to snigger.
Set within the not too distant future, Comedian Potential foresees TV soaps acted by AI robots. Because the play opens, simply such a TV programme – a hospital cleaning soap – is in progress. However within the studio the place it’s being recorded, the robots are malfunctioning and the motion spirals into chaos.
The human overseer, desperately attempting to revive order, is startled (as have been we) to listen to one of many AI nurses break right into a match of the giggles, as a result of the motion has change into so very humorous. It seems that this robotic has developed at the least one human trait. Does she have any extra? Sir Alan develops the theme: if she has a way of humour, what different human traits, feelings even, does she have?
It’s a very perceptive play, exploring the chances and doable difficulties, provided that she is a mechanical assemble. Maybe a revival can be well timed? That enchanting giggle was the merriest sound I’ve ever heard in a theatre, and belonged to Janie Dee.
Sherburn in Elmet, North Yorkshire