Lessons Learned from Virtual Humans

AI Magazine 

Over the past decade, we have been engaged in an extensive research effort to build virtual humans and applications that use them. Building a virtual human might be considered the quintessential AI problem, because it brings together many of the key features, such as autonomy, natural communication, and sophisticated reasoning and behavior, that distinguish AI systems. This article describes major virtual human systems we have built and important lessons we have learned along the way. Early on, we decided to focus on training human-oriented skills, such as leadership, negotiation, and cultural awareness. These skills are based on what is sometimes called tacit knowledge (Sternberg 2000), that is, knowledge that is not easily explicated or taught in a classroom setting but instead is best learned through experience.