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The Laughing Room: Collaboration with Harvard & MIT

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM Friday, November 16, 2018

Main Library
449 Broadway

The Laughing Room is an artificially intelligent room and interactive art installation at the Cambridge Public Library that plays a laugh track whenever the participants say something that the room’s algorithm deems to be funny. The installation looks like a TV sitcom set, but the room is equipped with a system of microphones and speakers connected to a machine learning algorithm created using a large dataset of audio transcripts of stand up comedians. The algorithm determines the vocal inflections and patterns that precede laughter and then reacts to the voices of the participants from the general public who “perform” to the room.

The Control Room installation at the MIT Hayden Library displays what is happening in The Laughing Room at the Cambridge Public Library on eight large screens each displaying live-streams from a different platform: Periscope/Twitter, Instagram Live, Facebook Live, Twitch Live, a direct high quality video and audio stream, an audio waveform of the sound in the room, a text output of all speech as interpreted by a speech-to-text algorithm, and reruns of previous video recordings.

The Laughing Room addresses the increasingly social and cultural roles of technology, and users’ agency within and dependence on these emerging social systems. In consort with The Laughing Room, ARTificial Intelligence will offer a series of workshops, talks, curated library displays and off-campus events about AI and society and the history of AI at MIT, using art making and curation as forms of knowledge production and creative research.