Google Taps Pixar, Onion Staff to Give AI Assistant a Sense of Humor

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A sense of humor is a distinct feature that sets humans apart from animals. But Google is toeing that line by giving its AI a funny bone.

The tech titan is reportedly infusing comedy into its new virtual assistant, according to The Wall Street Journal. Former staffers from Pixar Animation Studios and satirical news service The Onion are now on Google's payroll, making a living writing witty quips for Assistant to spit out.

Google did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment. But it tells the Journal that infusing artificial intelligence with a sense of humor require an attention to details like latency ("humans have no patience for it in conversation," the paper notes) and tone of voice.

Google Assistant is a platform that will allow users to have "an ongoing, two-way dialog with Google," CEO Sundar Pichai said at I/O. In a demo at its Oct. 4 event, the company used Assistant on the Pixel to buy concert tickets, make a restaurant reservation, and get directions—all by voice.

"It can help with the big things like weekend plans, but it's also good for the little things like finding information, setting reminders for yourself, and so much more," Brian Rakowski, vice president of Google Product Management, said last week.

Alongside the Pixel smartphone lineup, Assistant will be incorporated into Google Home (pictured)—the search giant's answer to Amazon Echo, expected for release next month.

For more, see Hands On With Google Home and the video above, as well as Is Google Home Ready for Your Family?

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