Innovation That Matters

A graphic for an AI-generated show description titled Meaner and the World – Farrigal Donals at the Burns | Photo source University of Edinburgh/Improvbot

AI helps regenerate cancelled Edinburgh Fringe shows

Arts & Entertainment

ImprovBot is using eight years’ worth of data from previous Fringe programmes to create novel show descriptions, which are then acted out by an improv group

Spotted: Researchers from the University of Edinburgh are using artificial intelligence to help create descriptions for a lineup of Edinburgh Fringe Festival improv shows as part of this year’s virtual edition. A real-life comedy troupe, the Improverts, are staging their own versions of these shows on Twitter, based on what the AI comes up with.

The AI, dubbed ImprovBot, is using eight years’ worth of data from previous Fringe programmes to create novel show descriptions, which began posting on Twitter every hour (@improvbot_ai) when the festival began on 7th August. The bot will ultimately come up with over 350 show descriptions. The festival’s eclectic events listings have long been part of its charm and tradition.

But the Improverts are facing a unique challenge, as the AI has even more of an esoteric take on show descriptions than what has come before. Previews of show blurbs generated by the bot include, “Security jazz sets off the stand apart with a play that magically takes a smile on the planets and stranges and highs of the world of shows.” And, “A political accompanied by a great journey through the passionate fantastic lesson portrays of her vivid bottom and all the clothes.”

The Edinburgh Fringe is one of the best-attended arts and comedy festivals in the world, and a springboard for many aspiring actors, writers, comedians and others. The Improverts are just part of this year’s edition, which, like many other festivals, is all-digital this year. A variety of live performances are scheduled to run throughout August.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

Explore more: Arts & Entertainment Innovations | COVID-19 Innovations



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