Towards Culturally-Aware Virtual Agent Systems

Brigit Endrass, Matthias Rehm and Elisabeth André

Towards Culturally-Aware Virtual Agent Systems

erschienen 01.06.2010 Handbook of Research on Culturally-Aware Information Technology: Perspectives and Models, E. G. Blanchard and D. Allard

Globalization leads to an increase in intercultural encounters with a risk of misunderstandings due to different patterns of behavior and understanding. Learning applications have been proposed that employ virtual agents as their primary tool. Through their embodiment, learning can be done in a game-like environment in a more interesting way than for example learning with a textbook. We support the idea that virtual agents are a great opportunity for teaching cultural awareness. Realizing this, the concept of culture needs to be translated into computational models and the advantages of different systems using virtual agents need to be considered. Therefore, we reflect in this chapter on how virtual agents can help to learn about culture, scan definitions of culture from the social sciences, give an overview on how multiagent systems developed over time and classify the state of the art that integrates culture in multiagent systems. In addition, we introduce our approach of simulating culture-specific behavior using such a multiagent system and outline future trends in enculturating virtual agent systems.