H. Chad Lane Gives Keynote Speech at the Army’s Junior Science and Humanities Symposium National

April 28, 2010 | Bethesda, MD

Speaker: H. Chad Lane, ICT
Host: Junior Science & Humanities Symposium

Virtual humans are embodied, artificially intelligent characters that bring with them new social dimensions to computing. One of their most popular roles is that of pedagogical agent, or teacher. In the last decade, they have expanded to become role players for helping acquire and develop social and intercultural skills. Virtual Humans now exist for training in a variety of interpersonal contexts, including clinical interviewing, intercultural business, and even healthy play in autistic children. What does it take to build a virtual human? How can we best use them to provide virtual experiences for learning?

In this talk, I will present on overview of research at the Institute for Creative Technologies to design and build virtual humans that seek to promote learning. This includes work to build virtual humans for culture-specific training and collaborative work with the Boston Museum of Science to build virtual guides who answer questions about computer science and technology ( I will discuss the underlying psychology of interacting with virtual humans, what it takes to build one, and summarize the results of a series of studies we have conducted that examine the efficacy of virtual humans for teaching culture and the role feedback plays in this process. My talk will conclude with some thoughts on current limitations of virtual humans, how ongoing research is addressing those issues, and what the future may hold for virtual humans who want to help you learn.