Rosetta Code

Humans and robots from Europe and beyond improvise together – each in their own languages. Improvisers communicate through machine-translation technology, via surtitles and earpieces. AI chatbots chime in and add to the fun in this multilingual Turing test. The Rosetta Stone helped us decipher hieroglyphs – the challenge of Rosetta Code is to decipher who is human and who is a robot. This ‘comedy of speech-recognition errors’ brings a new meaning to being lost in translation.

Co-created by robotics researchers Piotr Mirowski (France/Poland/UK) and Kory Mathewson (Canada), drama director Jenny Elfving (Sweden), actor Mats Eldøen (Norway) and science communicator Ben Verhoeven (Belgium).

Rosetta Code premièred at the Rich Mix London, as part of the Voilà! Europe Festival of European Theatre on 8 & 10 November 2019 (review). It was performed in English, with real-time machine-translation of Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish and Swedish .

Rosetta Code was performed again at Brighton Fringe 2021 at The Warren and at Camden Fringe 2021 at The Cockpit Theatre and will be performed as part of Improfest 2022 in Mölndal, Sweden, with a binational cast (Improbotics UK and Improbotics Sweden).

Our show was the subject of a scientific research paper “Rosetta Code: Improv in Any Language“, published at the International Conference on Computational Creativity 2020 (video of the presentation).

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