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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, sophisticated reasoning and behavior, that distinguish AI systems.  This paper describes major virtual human systems we have built and important lessons we have learned along the way.


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.


Machine Learning for Computational Psychology

AAAI Conferences

Advances in sensing and imaging have provided psychology researchers new tools to understand how the brain creates the mind and simultaneously revealed the need for a new paradigm of mind-brain correspondence-- a set of basic theoretical tenets and an overhauled methodology. I develop machine learning methods to overcome three initial technical barriers to application of the new paradigm. I assess candidate solutions to these problems using two test datasets representing different areas of psychology: the first aiming to build more objective Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) diagnostic tools using virtual reality and peripheral physiology, the second aiming to verify theoretical tenets of the new paradigm in a study of basic affect using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging(fMRI). Specifically I address three technical challenges: assessing performance in small, real datasets through stability; learning from labels of varying quality; and probabilistic representations of dynamical systems.


Robots Are Learning to Fake Empathy

#artificialintelligence

Emotional intelligence is a cornerstone of human interactions--an essential part of what it means to be human. But now, artificial intelligences are being developed to better read and process human emotions, which is already changing the way we interact with robots. In the early 1990s, psychologists Salovey and Mayer were the first to recognize emotional intelligence as a set of knowledge and skills distinct from other forms of intelligence, defining it as "the ability to monitor one's own and other's feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions." Emotional intelligence is something that seems wonderfully and innately human. But it turns out the tenets of emotional intelligence--which we start picking up in infancy and which seem so closely linked to human nature itself--can be quantified and reduced to logical procedures and algorithms.


SAMHT — Suicidal Avatars for Mental Health Training

AAAI Conferences

Psychosocial assessments and treatments are effective for a range of psychological problems.One particular area of concern is youth suicide. This paper reports on the SAMHT intelligent tutoring system, which provides youth suicide risk assessment training.SAMHT's interactive avatar interface is based on an intelligent backend, and provides a believable interaction that is effective for training mental health professionals.