Developing Enculturated Agents: Pitfalls and Strategies

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Abstract

Embodied Conversational Agents (ECAs) are complex multimodal systems with rich verbal and nonverbal repertoires. There human-like appearance raises severe expectations regarding natural communicative behaviors on the side of the user. But what is regarded as “natural” is to a large degree dependent on our cultural profiles that provide us with heuristics of behavior and interpretation. Thus, integrating cultural aspects of communicative behaviors in virtual agents and thus enculturating such systems seems to be inevitable. But culture is a multi-defined domain and thus a number of pitfalls arise that have to be avoided in the endeavor. This chapter presents some of the pitfalls for enculturating interactive systems and presents strategies on how to avoid these pitfalls in relation to the standard development process of Embodied Conversational Agents.
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Embodied Conversational Agents (ECAs) are complex multimodal systems with rich verbal and nonverbal repertoires. There human-like appearance raises severe expectations regarding natural communicative behaviors on the side of the user. But what is regarded as “natural” is to a large degree dependent on our cultural profiles that provide us with heuristics of behavior and interpretation. Thus, integrating cultural aspects of communicative behaviors in virtual agents and thus enculturating such systems seems to be inevitable. But culture is a multi-defined domain and thus a number of pitfalls arise that have to be avoided in the endeavor. This chapter presents some of the pitfalls for enculturating interactive systems and presents strategies on how to avoid these pitfalls in relation to the standard development process of Embodied Conversational Agents.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Culturally-Aware Information Technology
EditorsEmmanuel Blanchard, Daniele Allard
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherIdea Group Publishing
Publication date2010
Pages362-386
StatePublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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