Start Making Sense: How to design likeable, trustworthy and helpful virtual humans

Dr Sara Dalzel-Job is a Research Associate in the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh. She is interested in how people interact with virtual humans – either agents/avatars or other embodied AIs. She spent some time investigating social presence during dyadic task-focused human-computer interactions, and is now exploring the area of trust and AI. The main focus of her research is investigating how manipulating a virtual human’s behaviour impacts on a user's perceptions of, and behaviour towards it, and on the effectiveness of the interaction.

The aim of this project is to create natural and accurate models of users’ behaviours and language, incorporating social signals and measures of engagement under different conditions, with varying patterns of feedback. The results will assist in the design of useful, likeable, trustworthy AIs. Artificial agents can therefore be trained to understand characteristic human behaviour exhibited during communication, as well as how to respond with appropriately human-like behaviour.

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Sara Dalzel-Job