Autonomous Agents as Synthetic Characters
Humans are social creatures. Much of our intelligence derives from our ability to manipulate our environment through collaborative endeavors. Most extant computer programs and interfaces do little to take advantage of such manifestly human talents and interests, leaving broad avenues of human-computer communication unexplored. Although it is still considered controversial, there are many who believe the harnessing of social communication to be rich in possibilities for modern software. In this article, we look at a number of autonomous agent systems that embody their intelligence at least partially through the projection of a believable, engaging, synthetic persona. Among other topics, we touch briefly on samples of research that explore synthetic personality, representations of emotion, societies of fanciful and playful characters, intelligent and engaging automated tutors, and users projected as avatars into virtual worlds.
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