The rise of the avatar
Indeed, the virtual humans are on the rise. ZDNet has an overview of research labs which aim to replace those pesky machines with computer-controlled virtual humans. The plusses are that virtual humans a) look like us, b) are conversant in social interaction c) gesture. The minus is that virtual humans are still run by machines and are therefore only as intelligent as we make them. From the article:
The requirements placed on virtual humans are enormous: they need to interact socially, communicate verbally and non-verbally – in other words via speech, gestures and facial expressions, have a human, pleasant appearance and be credible in dialogue with the user. […] To achieve this, researchers are developing various modules to generate dialog, understand speech and for graphics output, interfacing these through a web-based approach.
~ by aleks on April 11, 2006.