Virtual worlds and virtual human
Benjamin Lok, University of Florida
This talk focuses on the emerging field of virtual humans and their applicability to simulating interpersonal scenarios. The interpersonal scenarios that will be discussed have users interacting with virtual humans as role-playing partners to practice, refine, and learn interpersonal skills. These skills are difficult to educate using current educational approaches.
First, we will explore the technologies required to provide realistic computer-generated characters that can speak, gesture, and interact with users within the context of a constrained interpersonal scenario. Both the capabilities of existing technologies and the near-term expected advances will be examined. Specific focus will be on visual, audio, and haptic realism of virtual humans.
Second, we will explore the use of virtual humans on simulating interpersonal scenarios. The discussion will include current and future applications of role-playing with virtual humans and the educational and social impacts of virtual human interactions. Specific focus will be on how to augment role-playing with humans with role-playing with virtual humans.
Finally, we will look at a specific application of virtual humans playing the role of patients as to enable healthcare profession students opportunities to practice their communication skills. This work will highlight the affective capabilities of virtual humans such as the ability to elicit bias, the open problems with virtual humans, and what conclusions can already be made about the realism of human - virtual human interactions.
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