The Augmented Conversation is a dialog between human and AI participants that enables them to imagine, describe and create live virtual objects and simulations that they can interactively and simultaneously explore and modify. The AI is a full participant in this exploration – listening and watching the human participants and responding instantly to reify the ideas and concepts that they discuss. This isn’t an app. This is live collaboration – a foundation for how the next devices will mediate our engagement with others and with the world. Not only will these devices replace your smart phone, but they will replace your PC. The new devices will and must become super workstations that live up to the promise of delivering the “bicycle for the mind”. They will enable you to work with ideas and concepts that are simply not possible today, and you'll be able to share those ideas at any time with anyone.
Since the mid-1990s, a significant scientific literature has evolved regarding the mental/physical health outcomes from the use of what we now refer to as Clinical Virtual Reality (VR). While the preponderance of clinical work with VR has focused on building immersive virtual worlds for treating anxiety disorders with exposure therapy, providing distracting immersive experiences for acute pain management, and supporting physical/cognitive rehabilitation with game-based interactive content, there are other emerging areas that have extended the impact of VR in healthcare. One such area involves the evolution of conversational virtual human (VH) agents. This has been driven by seminal research and development leading to the creation of highly interactive, artificially intelligent and natural language capable VHs that can engage real human users in a credible fashion. No longer at the level of a prop to add context or minimal faux interaction in a virtual world, VH representations can now be designed to perceive and act in a 3D virtual world, engage in face-to-face spoken dialogues with real users, and in some cases, can exhibit human-like emotional reactions. This presentation will provide a brief rationale and overview of research that has shown the benefits derived from the use of virtual humans in healthcare applications. Research will be detailed reporting positive outcomes from studies using VHs in the role of virtual patients for training novice clinicians, as job interview/social skill trainers for persons on the autism spectrum, and as online healthcare support agents with university students and military Veterans. The computational capacity now exists to deliver similar VH interactions by way of mobile device technology. This capability can support the “anywhere/anytime” availability of VH characters as agents for engaging users with healthcare information and could provide opportunities for improving access to care and emotional support for a wide range of wellness and clinical applications for a variety of populations. This work will be discussed along with a look into the future of this next major movement in Clinical VR. For more information on this topic, please visit our website: http://medvr.ict.usc.edu/ and YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/AlbertSkipRizzo/videos?view=0&sort=dd&shelf_id=1