I'm interested in AI for the creation of interactive actors for VR drama. This interest led me to Cyc - its founder claims it is the basis for a leap forward for humans as great as the acquisition of speech.
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When we read a novel or watch a film, we may identify with the protagonist. In virtual reality the relationship is more direct; the user is the protagonist. This is the starting point for my research in VR fiction . My VR dramas create an environment in which the user, as the main protagonist, interacts with virtual characters. The fiction that results is something that happens to the user; the application does not simply tell her a story, it actively involves her in a chain of events with emotional implications. These works are designed for immersive VR systems such as the CAVE or HMD - this means the user is not looking at a monitor but is immersed in sound and 3D graphics.
To make convincing computer-controlled characters in my VR dramas - and I mean psychologically not visually convincing - I need intelligent agents. The agent should be able understand and talk to the user, maintaining and enhancing the logic and possibilities of the story. I've started to work on such an agent with the SNePS group, who have been building a natural language knowledge representation and reasoning AI system for about 20 years. Through them I became aware of CYcorp, makers of the Cyc Knowledge Server for artificial-intelligence based on Common Sense - another 20 year project. Humans reason from and make all sorts of judgements based on common sense - Cyc's founder believes that after 20 years of entering common sense into the system Cyc is now primed to reason far better than humans, because it can process and interrelate more information, quicker. I see Cyc as the back-end to a web-based grandmother I want to create one day- an UR- grandmother whose always there with pithy advice. The CIA would have other uses for the project. Check it out.