Virtual Agent Understands Your Social Cues

A researcher from Carnegie Mellon University developed S.A.R.A. (Socially Aware Robot Assistant) that not only comprehends what you say, but also understands facial expressions and head movements.

Using CUDA, GTX 1080 GPUs and cuDNN with TensorFlow to train the deep learning models, S.A.R.A. will reply differently if she detects a smile than someone frowning and offering a response that doesn’t comply with social norms.

“She looks at your behavior and her behavior,” says Justine Cassell, director of human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University and director of the project, “and calculates on the basis of the intersection of that behavior. Which no one has ever done before.”

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S.A.R.A. looks at the information you disclose, if you’re smiling, and whether what you’re saying goes along with or against social norms, to determine her response to you.

The S.A.R.A. project consists of three elements never before used, says Cassell: conversational strategy classifiers, a rapport estimator, and a social reasoner. “The conversational strategy classifiers are five separate recognizers that can classify any one of five conversational strategies with over 80 percent accuracy.”

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