Enter the virtual humans. Not the Hollywood kind, but software agents that mimic and engage us. Apple has Siri, Microsoft features Cortana, Amazon offers Alexa and Google is rolling out its Assistant. Those are separate from the specialized AI programs that provide leadership training, help adults in therapy and assist children with autism.
Smarter, more autonomous systems that are able to act on their own will be able to interpret your moods from seeing where you’re looking, how you’ve tilted your head or if you’re frowning — and then respond to your needs.
USC’s SimSensei program has been developing AI to do just that. While chatting with people, SimSensei records, quantifies and analyzes our behavior and gets to know us better. One application displays an onscreen virtual therapist named Ellie who gets people to tell her about their problems. She adjusts her speech and gestures to show she’s paying attention and understands what’s bothering you.
The program has been adapted to coach people in public speaking and handling themselves in job interviews. The US Army has used it for leadership training.