Embodied conversational agents are computer-generated cartoon-like characters that demonstrate many of the same properties as humans in face-to-face conversation, including the ability to produce and respond to verbal and nonverbal communication. They constitute a type of (a) multimodal interface where the modalities are those natural to human conversation: speech, facial displays, hand gestures, and body stance; (b) software agent, insofar as they represent the computer in an interaction with a human or represent their human users in a computational environment (as avatars, for example); and (c) dialogue system where both verbal and nonverbal devices advance and regulate the dialogue between the user and the computer. With an embodied conversational agent, the visual dimension of interacting with an animated character on a screen plays an intrinsic role. Not just pretty pictures, the graphics display visual features of conversation in the same way that the face and hands do in face-to-face conversation among humans.
This book describes research in all aspects of the design, implementation, and evaluation of embodied conversational agents as well as details of specific working systems. Many of the chapters are written by multidisciplinary teams of psychologists, linguists, computer scientists, artists, and researchers in interface design. The authors include Elisabeth Andre, Norm Badler, Gene Ball, Justine Cassell, Elizabeth Churchill, James Lester, Dominic Massaro, Cliff Nass, Sharon Oviatt, Isabella Poggi, Jeff Rickel, and Greg Sanders.
The game console may help to prepare children for participation in the digital world, but at the same time it socializes boys into misogyny and excludes girls from all but the most objectified positions. The contributors to From Barbie® to Mortal Kombat explore how assumptions about gender, games, and technology shape the design, development, and marketing of games as industry seeks to build the girl market. They describe and analyze the games currently on the market and propose tactical approaches for avoiding the stereotypes that dominate most toy store aisles. The lively mix of perspectives and voices includes those of media and technology scholars, educators, psychologists, developers of today's leading games, industry insiders, and girl gamers.