Media Release: Amii celebrates Edmonton Startup Week with a special presentation of Improbotics, presented in collaboration with Rapid Fire Theatre

EDMONTON, AB (October 8, 2020) – The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) celebrates Edmonton Startup Week with a special presentation of Improbotics, presented in collaboration with Rapid Fire Theatre. The live and online improvised theatre performance, featuring the world’s first artificial intelligence improvisor, takes place on Friday, October 23 at 3:30 PM on Zoom - content is recommended for adult audiences. Register for FREE at

The show features A.L.Ex. (the Artificial Language Experiment), the first artificial improvisor which uses advanced natural language processing and machine learning. A.L.Ex. “performs” in the show, becoming one of the troupe as it sends its lines to one of the improvisers via an earpiece. The performer then attempts to physically and emotionally justify AI-generated lines that hopefully make sense. Each performance draws on suggestions from the audience, making every show one of a kind.

Co-created by robotics researchers Piotr Mirowski (UK/France/Poland) and Kory Mathewson (Canada), as well as drama director Jenny Elfving (Sweden) and science communicator Ben Verhoeven (Belgium), Improbotics combines AI and comedy in a unique way.

Improbotics has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New Scientist, RTÉ One, Global News Canada and Bloomberg.


  • Kory Matthewson (Ph.D. in Computing Science at Amii/University of Alberta)
  • Piotr Mirowski (Ph.D. in Computing Science at New York University)
  • Rapid Fire Theatre’s top improvisers – Matt Schuurman, Sydney Campbell, Marguerite Lawler, and Julian Faid

About Amii

One of Canada’s three centres of AI excellence as part of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, Amii (the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute) is an Alberta-based non-profit institute that supports world-leading research in artificial intelligence and machine learning and translates scientific advancement into industry adoption. Amii grows AI capacity through advancing leading-edge research, delivering exceptional educational offerings and providing business advice – all with the goal of building in-house AI capabilities. For more information, visit

About Rapid Fire Theatre

Rapid Fire Theatre is Edmonton's premiere destination for improvised comedy, aiming to provide affordable, high-energy improvisation to alternative theatre to audiences while providing exciting opportunities for its participants. For more information, visit

About Edmonton Startup Week

From October 19 - 23, 2020, celebrate Edmonton Startup Week virtually. Join the local tech community for five days of workshops, socials and events celebrating the diversity of the local startup community. For more information, visit

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is a discipline of computing science that allows a system to complete tasks we typically associate with cognitive functions – such as reasoning, strategizing and problem-solving – without requiring an explicit solution for every variation.

Why focus on machine learning?

Machine learning is a set of computational techniques that use data to create models that make predictions about future data. These models independently learn and continuously adapt to changing environments without being explicitly programmed for the data they encounter. Machine learning is a crucial component in many artificial intelligence systems.

Industry is particularly interested in adopting applied machine learning, and investing in advanced research in the field, because of the focus on using historical data to inform future opportunities for systems improvement, discoveries, and augmenting human-cognitive capacity.

Media Contact: Spencer Murray, Marketing & Communications

t: 587.415.6100 ext. 109

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