Cassell and the Advent of Virtual Humans

July 13, 2016
Virtual Assistant Sara

Meet Sara, the "socially aware robot assistant" that previous Human-Computer Interaction Institute Director, Justine Cassell, brought to the Annual Meeting of Champions, hosted by the World Economics Forum. Sara is a digital image on a big screen television and chats with event attendees as they enter the conference. She can suggest sessions for you to attend or people to meet. 

Cassell, now the associate dean of technology, strategy and impact, saw the opportunity to use Sara at the conference as a way to demonstrate the benefits AI can offer.

"It's a great chance to show people what the future might hold," explained Cassell in a recent article with CNET. This future is one that researchers and scientists have already spent 60 years working towards, the article explains.

While the AI to which we have become familiar, like Apple's Siri, fail to adapt or grow the way we'd expect a person to, the article believes that the future of AI lies in smart systems like Sara, who can socially interact with humans.

To read the complete article, including the mistakes researchers are learning from, visit the article on CNET