Geert Lovink on Mon, 23 Apr 2007 15:00:22 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-nl] openbare lezing mark meadows, a.s. woensdag hva

Openbare lezing > Mark Meadows – HeadCase Humanufacturing Inc.

Tijdstip> woensdag 25 april 2007 – 16.30 – 17.30 uur – C1.02
Lokatie> Instituut voor Interactieve Media – Hogeschool van Amsterdam (Leeuwenburg, Amstelstation)

L.A. based artist, writer and interactive architect Mark Meadows geeft a.s. woensdag een lezing over "Humanufacturing: The Automation of Humans" .

Voor meer informatie over Mark Meadows en zijn werk zie > en hieronder.

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------------the write up from a Wall Street Journal article that came out last week-----------------------

Virtual Intelligence

Avatars, the digital characters that represent computer users online, are increasingly popular on social-networking sites, in instant messaging and in multiplayer games. They allow people to craft a visual stand-in for themselves that they can direct to speak or act however they want in a given situation. Now, HeadCase Humanufacturing Inc. is attempting to take that concept a step further and create what it calls "digital humans" -- avatars that can interact with other avatars and with humans without every response being preprogrammed or directed by a person behind the character.

Los Angeles-based HeadCase, which plans to launch a beta version of its product by the end of the year, initially will focus on developing avatars for the gaming world but envisions other possible applications as well, including educational products.

One key feature of the avatars HeadCase aims to develop would be the ability to hold conversations with computer users. For instance, an avatar might act as a substitute for written instructions to games where players live in virtual worlds. The avatar could give the player an overview of the game and then answer the player's questions as they come up.

In education, avatars could represent historical characters. "Imagine telling your kids, 'I want you to go to this Web site and talk to this character named Plato,' " says HeadCase Chief Executive Cathi Cox. "A digital Plato could ostensibly serve as an educational tool, holding conversations about his life and writing."

Customer-service systems are another possibility, with avatars that could answer questions online -- and know when to give way to a human. "What if the system was smart enough to sense you swearing at it and brought on a human immediately?" Ms. Cox says.

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