By utilizing different communication channels, such as verbal language, gestures or facial expressions, virtually embodied interactive humans hold a unique potential to bridge the gap between human-computer interaction and actual interhuman communication. The use of virtual humans is consequently becoming increasingly popular in a wide range of areas where such a natural communication might be beneficial, including entertainment, education, mental health research and beyond. Behind this development lies a series of technological advances in a multitude of disciplines, most notably natural language processing, computer vision, and speech synthesis. In this paper we discuss a Virtual Human Journalist, a project employing a number of novel solutions from these disciplines with the goal to demonstrate their viability by producing a humanoid conversational agent capable of naturally eliciting and reacting to information from a human user. A set of qualitative and quantitative evaluation sessions demonstrated the technical feasibility of the system whilst uncovering a number of deficits in its capacity to engage users in a way that would be perceived as natural and emotionally engaging. We argue that naturalness should not always be seen as a desirable goal and suggest that deliberately suppressing the naturalness of virtual human interactions, such as by altering its personality cues, might in some cases yield more desirable results.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of eNTERFACE'16 - The 12th Summer Workshop on Multimodal Interfaces|
|Editors||Khiet Truong, Dennis Reidsma|
|Place of Publication||Enschede|
|Publisher||Centre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 24 Jul 2017|
|Event||12th International Summer Workshop on Multimodal Interfaces, eNTERFACE 2016 - DesignLab, University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands|
Duration: 18 Jul 2016 → 12 Aug 2016
Conference number: 12
|Workshop||12th International Summer Workshop on Multimodal Interfaces, eNTERFACE 2016|
|Period||18/07/16 → 12/08/16|
- Embodied Virtual Agents
- Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
- Anthropomorphic agents
Bowden, K., Nilsson, T., Spencer, C., Cengiz, K., Ghitulescu, A., & van Waterschoot, J. B. (2017). I Probe, Therefore I Am: Designing a Virtual Journalist with Human Emotions. In K. Truong, & D. Reidsma (Eds.), Proceedings of eNTERFACE'16 - The 12th Summer Workshop on Multimodal Interfaces (02 ed., Vol. 17, pp. 47-53). Enschede: Centre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT).