Speakers: Mark Stephen Meadows & Albert “Skip” Rizzo, Ph.D.
Time: Wednesday, November 19, 4-6pm
Location: USC’s School of Cinematic Arts Interactive Media Building(SCI), Room 206
TITLE: The Art of Conversational Characters: NLP, AI, IF, & NPCs!
This talk provides an overview of autonomous avatars and virtual assistants. The talk is divided into two portions: Today and Tomorrow.
Today: This is a state-of-the-art survey. We review a number of systems and draw comparisons of interaction, personality, function, backstory, and their place in this exploding market. We compare Cortana, Ellie, Jarvis, Watson and Siri and draw some conclusions about the importance of context. Of course we show Geppetto Avatars’ own Sophie as well. We will discuss the technologies used and in particular the fragility of voice recognition. We expand this into an investigation of the role that emotion plays in our interactions, how emotion and identity is detected, and what this means to search and advertising companies like Google or Facebook.
Tomorrow: These systems will change the landscape of the Internet. First we look at the impact avatars will have on search and social media. We then look at what this means for identity, privacy, knowledge, and our right to own our own personalities. A social media structure that uses autonomous avatars and blockchain technologies to address these concerns is reviewed and we show example scaffolding for current development work that opens up broad new vistas for not just entertainment and games, but how we can each make money by contributing our own information to a city of avatars that will serve us in the coming years.
Mark Stephen Meadows is an American author, entrepreneur, and artist. He is the co-founder of Geppetto Avatars, Inc. and creator of several conversational character technologies.
He is the inventor of several US patents relating to artificial intelligence and avatars, and he lectures internationally on this work. In addition to developing software, Meadows is known for his hitchhiking adventures, specifically for visiting Baghdad in 2003, and his interviews with terrorists in Sri Lanka. He holds a USCG captain’s license.
Albert “Skip” Rizzo, Ph.D. is Director, Medical Virtual Reality at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies and Research Professor in the Dept. of Psychiatry and School of Gerontology, University of Southern California.
He conducts research on the design, development and evaluation of Virtual Reality systems in the treatment of PTSD, autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and other serious disorders. He studies how interactive and immersive VR simulations can be applied to healthcare needs, beyond what’s possible with traditional tools and methods. Rizzo also tracks VR applications in clinical assessment, treatment and rehabilitation across psychological, cognitive and motor functioning in both healthy and clinical populations. He is a clinical psychologist and the director of Medical Virtual Reality Research at the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California; and research professor in the USC Department of Psychiatry and at the USC Davis School of Gerontology. In his spare time he plays rugby, listens to music, rides his motorcycle and thinks about new ways that VR can drag the field of psychology, kickin’ and screamin’, into the 21st century. To view videos on his work, please visit: Youtube.com.