Wow, I got a position at the Delft University of Technology at the Interactive Intelligence group. I will work on the 4TU Pride & Prejudice project. We aim to use Artificial Social Agents (ASA), such as chatbots, virtual agents or social robots, to support people who struggle in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and who may suffer from welfare diseases, such as diabetes. We support these people and their social group with ASAs to reduce prejudice and increase pride. For example, a diabetic is upset with a friend who did not accommodate their specific diet at a party, while the friend is embarrassed because they forgot the diet. An ASA can obtain information from a patient and redistribute it strategically in a social group, taking into account what information can and should (not) be shared. In the example, the friend would, without shame, ask the ASA all about the diet and could proudly accommodate the patient’s dietary needs. The patient would be pleased that their diet is accommodated at the party without having to publicly ask for it.
Cool to start a new project at a new university, but I will miss Twente and the people there…
Sydney Australia is about as far away from home as possible. The trip to attend the IVA2018 conference in Sydney was long. So why not stay for a little while to make some new (science) friends? “I was here anyway”, I told Anton Bogdanovych who was kind enough to host me at the Western Sydney University.
Flipper 2.0 aims to help developers of embodied conversational agents (ECAs) quickly and flexibly create dialogues. Jelte van Waterschoot presented our paper on Flipper at the Internation Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents in Sydney Australia.
During the conference I organised a workshop on methodology. At the conference we had great keynotes by, amongst others, Hiroshi Ishiguro and Mark Sagar. Especially Mark’s talk was facinating, with a live demo of his virtual baby. Mind blowing to see the detail and posibilities of the neural network controlling the ‘baby’. To finish the conference even more positive for us: we were awarded a best paper award during the conference diner.
Visiting European research project partners is great: seeing the places, trying the food, meeting the people. It is only fair to return the favour from time to time. In the Council of Coaches project many partners are from Twente, so it makes a lot of sense (less people traveling) to have meetings in Twente. We were the hosts for two technical integration meetings, April 23-26 and October 8-12. We had guests from the University of Dundee in the UK, the Sorbonne University in France, the Polytechnic University Valencia in Spain, and the Danish Board of Technology Foundation.
Working in science is awesome but sometimes, often at a party, it can be challenging to explain what it is that I do. I studied psychology and now work with, you know… “robots but social ones” as someone put it. Roughly two groups of people ask about my work and job, 1) those who are very interested in novel technology and psychology and 2) those who are scared this new technology is dangerous and “might steal their job”. I love talking about my job so always 1) explain as much as people find interesting and 2) reassure that robotic overlords won’t be happening soon (and that they probably will have an off-switch). In this post you can read what I might say if you ask me at a party “so you work with robots, right…?”
The Polytechnic University of Valencia hosted the people behind the Council of Coaches project working hard to create a multi-agent system, from the 5th till the 10th of March. Besides making massive steps on the technical implementation of the demonstrator, we had fun and good food!
A new year is approaching and a new project appears: Council of Coaches! In this European Horizon 2020 Project we will look at virtual coaching. We will create an autonomous council of multiple virtual coaches that can assist people in achieving their health goals. These coaches will discuss the health situation of the user with each other and the user. In this way we hope to be able to positively influence the lifestyle of the user in a fun and natural manner.
The 17th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA 2017) was held on August 27-30 in Stockholm and I was there! The conference was organized by Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (better known as KTH). I was involved in three publications!
The ARIA project is a European project, with partners from the UK, Germany, France and The Netherlands. This has its perks, when you need to sit down for a face-to-face meeting there is no other option than to travel. And I love to visit new places!
This time, Edinburgh Scotland! Lovely city that looks and feels historical. Things to find there: loads of nice pubs, random bagpipers in front the Scottish High Court for Justice, friendly people, surprisingly nice weather and obviously: Hurray for Haggis!