An AI programme attempts to improvise with a troupe of humans in an interesting, but not entertaining, science experiment. Here’s our Artificial Intelligence Improvisation review.
A short while into Artificial Intelligence Improvisation, research project director/improv compere Dr Piotr Mirowski warns the audience to lower their expectations. AI is nowhere near as advanced as we’ve been lead to believe, he says, and so asking a robot to play improv games with a bunch of human castmates is, well, a big ask.
Despite that warning, the most interesting parts of the show come when the AI (represented on stage by either a tiny robot or a cast member wearing an earpiece) is allowed to strut its stuff. Though most of what it comes out with is an odd combination of intensely logical and amusingly incoherent, it’s still fascinating to watch a computer, on a basic level, make jokes and quips in response to a number of quirky scenarios.
Unfortunately, those moments make up nowhere near enough of the show, which can’t seem to decide whether its purpose is to inform or to entertain. Large segments see the cast enthusiastically hop into basic improv scenarios with a lot of energy but, sadly, not much experience. This results in long sections spent waiting for some sub-university standard improv to end before someone chats with a robot for a bit.
By the end, it’s troubling to admit that almost all of the laughs in the show came not from the human cast but from the AI robot facing them. And though a final live recreation of the Turing test provides an intriguing end to the show, ironically, a more in-depth explanation of the science behind AI would have been both more entertaining and more interesting.