Controlling the Behavior of Animated Presentation Agents in the Interface: Scripting versus Instructing

Elisabeth André and Thomas Rist

"AI Magazine", Volume 22, Number 4, Pages 53 - 66

Verlag: American Association for Artificial Intelligence


Lifelike characters, or animated agents, provide a promising option for interface development as they allow us to draw on communication and interaction styles with which humans are already familiar. In this contribution, we revisit some of our past and ongoing projects in order to motivate an evolution of character-based presentation systems. This evolution starts from systems in which a character presents information content in the style of a TVpresenter. It moves on with the introduction of presentation teams that convey information to the user by performing role plays. In order to explore new forms of active user involvement during a presentation, the next step may lead to systems that convey information in the style of interactive performances. From a technical point of view, this evaluation is mirrored in different approaches to determine the behavior of the employed characters. By means of concrete applications, we argue that a central planning component for automated agent scripting is not always a good choice, especially not in the case of interactive performances where the user may take on an active role as well.