Comparing Intelligent Personal Assistants on Humor Function

  • Irene LopatovskaEmail author
  • Pavel Braslavski
  • Alice Griffin
  • Katherine Curran
  • Armando Garcia
  • Mary Mann
  • Alexandra Srp
  • Sydney Stewart
  • Alanood Al Thani
  • Shannon Mish
  • Wanyi Wang
  • Monica G. Maceli
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12051)


Intelligent personal assistants (IPA) use humor to engage and entertain users as well as mitigate performance limitations. In order to understand the types of users’ humorous interactions with IPA, we developed a classification of humorous utterances that included categories of questions about IPA personality, requests for jokes, rhetorical statement, and others. In order to illustrate the usefulness of classification for analyzing IPA interactions, we used it for comparing the four major IPAs on their responses to humorous utterances. A representative sample of 96 humorous utterances in each humor category and IPA type was developed and tested by 14 participants. The study found that IPA responses to specific requests for jokes received the highest humor ratings from users. The study also found that, overall, Alexa was rated as the most humorous IPA, followed by Google Assistant and Cortana. Interpretation of the findings in light of humor theories and IPA features are provided.


Intelligent personal assistants Digital conversational agents Voice user interfaces Humor 



The study was partially supported by the Pratt Institute Seed Grant. Special thanks to our participants and Pratt iSchool administration for their help with the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irene Lopatovska
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pavel Braslavski
    • 2
    • 3
  • Alice Griffin
    • 1
  • Katherine Curran
    • 1
  • Armando Garcia
    • 1
  • Mary Mann
    • 1
  • Alexandra Srp
    • 1
  • Sydney Stewart
    • 1
  • Alanood Al Thani
    • 1
  • Shannon Mish
    • 1
  • Wanyi Wang
    • 1
  • Monica G. Maceli
    • 1
  1. 1.Pratt InstituteNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Ural Federal UniversityYekaterinburgRussia
  3. 3.Higher School of EconomicsSaint PetersburgRussia

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