Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"Science fiction represents the modern heresy and the cutting edge of speculative imagination as it grapples with Mysterious Time---linear or non-linear time."
- Frank Herbert

Meson Filter  
  Provides robots with the ability to tell the difference between jokes that provide a chuckle and jokes that provide a belly laugh.  

Lester the Jester decides to test his new robot comedian Rupert.

"Hey, Rupert, tell me a joke."

Rupert's mouth opened. His voice clacked out, rising and falling like a sine wave. "On what subject, sir?"

The Rholg's mechanic leaned across his flat purple chest. "That's another gimmick - a meson filter. You said you wanted him to be able to distinguish between laugh-power in different gags so he could fit them to the audience. And price was no object. That's all you have to tell a tech. They knocked themselves out developing a gadget to do the job just right..."

Technovelgy from The Jester, by William Tenn.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1951
Additional resources -

Rupert the robot comedian is also a very early example of a machine that is able to laugh - in this case, at his own jokes:

The robot, standing perfectly immobile, was clacking wildly, grinding his gears and pinging his wires as if he were coming apart.

"That's another bug the techs didn't have time to clean up. Comes from the meson filter. Near as we can figure out it's what they call an aftereffect of his capacity to distinguish between gags that are partly funny and gags that are very funny. Electronic differentiation of the grotesque, as it says in the specifications - in man, a sense of humor. 'Course in a robot, it only means there's a kink in the exhaust."


('The Jester' by William Tenn)

Compare to Mycroft Holmes, the computer humorist from Robert Heinlein's 1966 novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Jester
  More Ideas and Technology by William Tenn
  Tech news articles related to The Jester
  Tech news articles related to works by William Tenn

Meson Filter-related news articles:
  - Pathways Language Model (PaLM) Is No Joke

Articles related to Artificial Intelligence
Singapore Writers Push Back On LLM Training
Microsoft VASA-1 Creates Personal Video From A Photo
Bespoke Environment Music From AIs
Steve Jobs: 'Capture The Next Aristotle - With AI'

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.'

Singapore Writers Push Back On LLM Training
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.'

Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.'

The FLUTE Project - A Huge Liquid Mirror In Space
'It's area, and its consequent light-gathering capacity, was many times greater than any rigid mirror...'

Robot Preachers Found To Undermine Religious Commitment
'Tell me your torments,' the Padre said, in an elderly voice marked with compassion.

CyberCab - Tesla Renames The Robotaxi
'A cybercab dogged their heels...'

SpaceHopper Microgravity Robot Lands On Its Feet
'...a slender-legged tripod surmounted by a spherical body no larger than a football.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.