Virtual patients are viewed as a cost-effective alternative to standardized patients for role-play training of clinical interviewing skills. However, training studies produce mixed results. Students give high ratings to practice with virtual patients and feel more self-confident, but they show little improvement in objective skills. This confidence-competence gap matches a common cognitive illusion, in which students overestimate the effectiveness of training that is too easy. We hypothesize that cost-effective training requires virtual patients that emphasize functional and psychological fidelity over physical fidelity.
Extempo Systems, Inc. was founded in 1995 to commercialize intelligent characters. Our team built innovative software and novel applications for several markets. We had some early-adopting customers during the Internet boom, but the company was not quite able to survive the significant downturn in corporate IT spending when the bubble burst. In 2004, Extempo ceased operations and was formally liquidated. Although our commercial venture failed, we learned a lot, had fun, and are trying again with a new company. To others who aspire to commercialize their AI technology, I say: ";;Take a chance!";;
Extempo Systems, Inc., was founded in 1995 to commercialize intelligent characters. Our team built innovative software and novel applications for several markets. We had some early-adopting customers during the Internet boom, but the company could not survive the significant downturn in corporate IT spending when the bubble burst. In 2004, Extempo ceased operations and was formally liquidated. Although our commercial venture failed, we advanced the technology for intelligent characters and learned a lot about how (not) to take them to market.
Magerko, Brian (Georgia Institute of Technology) | Deen, James (Georgia Institute of Technolog) | Idnani, Avinash (Georgia Institute of Technolog) | Pantalon, Michael (Yale University) | D’Onofrio, Gail (Yale University )
This article presents our work on building a virtual coach agent, called Dr. Vicky, and training environment (called the Virtual BNI Trainer, or VBT) for learning how to correctly talk with medical patients who have substance abuse issues. This work focuses on how to effectively design menu-based dialogue interactions for conversing with a virtual patient within the context of learning how to properly engage in such conversations according to the brief negotiated interview techniques we desire to train. Dr. Vicky also employs a model of student knowledge to influence the mediation strategies used in personalizing the training experience and guidance offered. The VBT is a prototype training application that will be used by medical students and practitioners within the Yale medical community in the future.
The past decade has witnessed an increasing interest in the use of virtual coaches in healthcare. This paper describes a virtual coach to provide mindfulness meditation training, and the coaching support necessary to begin a regular practice. The coach is implemented as an embodied conversational character, and provides mindfulness training and coaching support via a web-based application. The coach is represented as a female character, capable of showing a variety of affective and conversational expressions, and interacts with the user via a mixed-initiative, text-based, natural language dialogue. The coach adapts both its facial expressions and the dialogue content to the user’s learning needs and motivational state. Findings from a pilot evaluation study indicate that the coach-based training is more effective in helping users establish a regular practice than self-administered training via written and audio materials. The paper concludes with an analysis of the coach features that contribute to these results, discussion of key challenges in affect-adaptive coaching, and plans for future work.