Archive for Artificial Intelligence
Cranial Tap is pleased to announce the opening of a publicly accessible virtual world training environment in Second Life. This virtual training demonstration features several of our technical solutions used to train associates effectively in 3D online environments. The theme of this simulation is New Employee Orientation, something many of us can relate to. The Training Gallery page features several images of this new virtual space.
Because most of our client training projects cannot be shown publicly, we created this area. Located on the Cortex region, or sim, visitors can experience first hand many of the technologies embedded into the virtual environments of our clients. If you have a Second Life account, you can visit this location here: maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Cortex/65/65/48/. Should you not have an account, you will be prompted to create one at no cost.
Upon landing in this virtual location, you will be immersed in a mock consumer electronics store we call Super Buy. The Super Buy virtual retail store features many of the expected product departments including computers, stereos, wireless devices, cameras and televisions. When entering the store, you will be greeted by a computer-driven bot named Jenny. She directs visitors to click on her to receive a training HUD, which will attach to your screen. Detailed instructions can be found on a nearby poster.
The training HUD provides clear instructions relating to orientation of the store and related departments. As visitors proceed through the various steps, a progress bar indicates completed objectives. The compass reveals the location of objectives within the store. Upon completion of training, visitors will have a overview of the store products and their related layout.
Cranial Tap has created similar environments in the areas of medical instruction, safety training and emergency preparedness. The retail theme of this training demonstration was chosen to offer the broadest appeal possible. While a highly technical virtual training environment could have been constructed for public use, this particular theme is readily understood by most people.
Our clients leverage virtual world environments for many reasons, including:
- Reduction of risk to life and property
- Lowering costs associated with physical space
- Allowing remote learners to access training from any location
- Ability to offer self-paced training around the clock
- Groups of students or trainees benefit from shared experiences
- Virtual spaces and equipment are available at significantly lower costs, compared to the real world
- Wear and tear of work related devices and machinery is significantly reduced
- Retention of learning curriculum in virtual environments is considerably higher in visual 3D spaces, as compared to text books
- All employee training actions and choices are captured for management review.
- Full assessment is built into each scenario
- Virtual humans are capable of full interactive dialog and tasks
As companies, institutions and organizations seek to reduce operational costs, they are also struggling with a workforce that is often spread across many geographic regions. As a virtual world developer, Cranial Tap works with these organizations to design and construction highly engaging and effective environments for training and learning. Over the last four years, we've worked hard to create rewarding virtual spaces enjoyed by learners, and managers, alike.
Would your organization like to learn more about the benefits of this rapidly growing field? Feel free to reach out using our Contact page and we'll be happy to schedule a discussion.
This week, and throughout 2010, news stories have surfaced relating to South Korea's use of mechanical teachers geared toward English studies. Several news outlets are reporting that use of such robots have had measurable effect on school children who are responding favorably. It is often easier for children to connect with a character, rather than a human stranger, thereby allowing them to open up and learn better. Historically, the country hires around 20,000 English teachers per year who often come from surrounding places, like the Philippines (hence strangers).
But of course this is more an issue of reducing costs rather than making children open up in the classroom. Operationally, the cost for importing teachers every year adds up quickly when accounting for travel, room and board, meals and salary. This national research effort may very well benefit S. Korea's goal of making the younger generation globally ready and reduce costs while doing so.
Some may find the notion of robotic teachers to be strange. However, we here at Cranial Tap feel they could be doing much more. With the availability of today's virtual world technology, this program could go much further and deliver greater impact.
Virtual 3D characters, or teachers in this case, can appear as humans, animals or anything else. Appearance can be changed dynamically thereby allowing for testing to determine which gains the most attention, hence effectiveness. The Korean robots are plastic molded and feature a video screen for a face, where the broadcast instructor can be seen.
When projecting a virtual learning environment into a classroom, it can be used to visually demonstrate concepts rather than merely discussing them. Learning retention rates dramatically increase when subject matter is presented visually, even with English studies. It has been reported that text book retention rates average between 15% and 25%, compared to visual learning environments that provide upward of 85%.
Virtual teacher characters can be driven by a live instructor from any place on earth, or by an intelligent virtual bot. This flexibility allows various approaches in teaching where some studies may be self paced and others as a group exercise. The former example can support the hiring of the same quality instructor without the high cost of travel and stay. Many of our clients do this today in bringing notable management trainers to geographically remote staff. Virtual bot teachers can follow prescribed pedagogical paths effectively while addressing questions from students using today's artificial intelligence engines.
Another benefit of using 3D virtual world environments for teaching is dynamic access to language and supporting content. Virtual teachers can choose to speak, or interpret, most common languages in real time using today's technology. It is no longer required to be fluent in several languages to communicate globally. For example Google's Translation API service does a fair job of making foreign language accessible to everyone. This API is being used successfully today in virtual world spaces.
Being tied to a mechanical manifestation, updates and wear will continually plague the plastic teacher. The use of virtual characters and environments can be updated quickly, even on the fly. Appearances, virtual learning spaces, AI engines and curriculum can be updated at the server side thereby keeping everything fresh and overhead costs down. In addition, virtually present teachers can demonstrate supporting subject matter on demand; video, web pages, photographs and working 3D models.
It is our belief that educational institutions around the globe will continue to demonstrate interest in this area. Not only driven by the need to reduce spending, but the fact that quality education can be dramatically improved. These recent news stories won't be the time we hear of virtual teachers in the classroom.
International Business Times: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/95971/20101229/korea-english-teaching-robots-language.htm
Cranial Tap announces today a partnership with Innovative Systems and Human Mosaic Systems. This new venture promises to deliver decades of applied research and cognitive application development to learning in simulated environments. The three firms will combine their expertise to deliver highly interactive and responsive 3D virtual reality environments.
Human Mosaic Systems will provide expertise in the area of human dynamics related to individual learning and group collaboration. Innovative Systems will provide cognitive decision systems to increase the effectiveness of complex training scenarios within 3D environments. Cranial Tap is well known for developing engaging 3D spaces embedded with their learning and training solutions. The combined forces of these three companies will provide new levels of immersive education that results in higher retention rates of subject matter, lowered training costs and the reduction of risk to human life.
Round Hill, Va., November 16, 2010 — Cranial Tap, Inc., a leading developer of virtual world solutions, announces a partnership with Innovative Decisions, Inc. and Human Mosaic Systems. The partnership will bring new capabilities and technologies to the virtual world learning, training and simulation fields.
Backed by proven cognitive decision-making technologies, students and trainees will benefit from critical thinking systems based upon dialog theory. Training no longer needs to be a series of static steps. The new partnership will offer dynamic processes that evolve to reinforce subject judgment. Training variables can dynamically change to accommodate choices made by individuals, and groups. Simulated scenarios can be played out in endless configurations as driven by data, interactions, dialog and choices made. Virtual characters, or bots, will be programmed to interact intelligently and be capable of reason. Through these solutions, trainees will receive a realistic exposure to life situations.
Through the new partnership, a deep understanding of human psychology and social behavior will be applied to virtual learning simulations. Using scientific approaches, learning scenarios will anticipate human behavior to deliver maximum educational benefit. The introduction of the human element into complex training creates a more meaningful and rewarding learning experience for individuals and groups alike.
Global corporations, institutions of higher learning and organizations are using virtual reality systems at an increasing rate. Virtual environments are effective in connecting dispersed team members, reducing travel costs, minimizing the need for physical space and high rates of subject matter retention. Visual learning and training environments allow individuals to experience situations without risk to human life or property.
Examples of learning and training scenarios in virtual world environments include nurse and technician training, commercial safety, group critical thinking exercises, product and facility orientation, scientific and academic research, workplace relationships and emergency preparedness.
“We are excited about this new partnership and the value it will deliver,” said Dave Levinson, President of Cranial Tap. “Organizations are seeking more effective and engaging ways to train their staff and students. This new joint relationship offers deep insight and knowledge that will take learning environments to new levels.”
Dennis Buede, President of Innovative Decisions, added “Our intelligent agent technology can dramatically improve the effectiveness of virtual training and education applications. We are enthusiastic about applying this technology, Dynamic Decision Networks, to the critical task of dramatically increasing the productivity and value of an organization’s most critical resource, its people.”
“Human Mosaic Systems is very excited to be a part of this partnership with Cranial Tap and Innovative Decisions”, said Beverly Gay, President of HMS. “The unique combination of each of our companies’ skills will help to move the field forward in realizing the incredible power and potential of 3D immersive environments, especially with regard to facilitating individual and group learning and interactions.”
About Cranial Tap, Inc.
Cranial Tap, Inc. is a leading virtual world development firm located in the metro Washington, DC area. The company supports corporations, universities and organizations around the world in the development of 3D environments embedded with productive technology solutions. With a focus on virtual learning and training solutions, the company designs and constructs highly interactive spaces with effective results. More than 500,000 people have been trained using their innovative solutions geared specifically to virtual world environments. As denoted by Linden Lab, parent of Second Life, the firms is recognized as a Gold Solution Provider. Cranial Tap’s clients include Corbis, Cognizant, AOL, 1-800-Flowers, Michigan State University College of Nursing, NIC USA, and University of Virginia. Website: cranialtap.com.
About Innovative Decisions, Inc.
IDI specializes in using analytical methods and models to bring insight and closure to decision makers. Our methods include decision and risk analysis, modeling and simulation, systems engineering, performance measurement, and facilitated group decision conferencing. Our Dynamic Decision Network technology has been implemented for dozens of applications associated with the Army’s Future Combat System. IDI’s analysts have decades of successful experience applying these methods to agencies in the Intelligence Community, the services and agencies in the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and government contractors. Website:www.innovativedecisions.com.
About Human Mosaic Systems
Human Mosaic Systems facilitates human systems through designing robust 3D immersive environments with the complex dynamics of individuals and groups, their avatars, and the virtual environment in mind. We are architects who understand how individual and group dynamics in the physical world extend into 3D immersive or virtual environments and design spaces and courses/workshops with a deep understanding of how these complex dynamics impact organizations, teams, and individuals. We can help organizational leaders develop greater understanding and abilities to help meet the new challenges facing organizations in today's fast paced complex world. Website: www.humanmosaicsystems.com.
For Cranial Tap:
For Innovative Decisions:
For Human Mosaic Systems:
Beverly Gay McCarter
Tia is Cranial Tap's virtual receptionist. She works purely in Second Life at the Cranial Tap virtual headquarters on the Cortex region. Her role is to greet visitors as they enter the building to learn more about our company. Virtual computer driven characters work tirelessly around the clock and have no need to call in sick. While today, they cannot replace humans, they do serve a valuable purpose.
Computer driven characters, or bots, serve many purposes in virtual environments today. Aside from the ability to greet humans in personalized ways, bots also provide information, host virtual tours and even relay communications. Backed by an artificial intelligence engine, Tia's abilities are supported by nearly half a million lines of dialog. On a regular basis, our team sorts through captured dialog sessions to identify communication areas that require improvement. This process helps to make future discussions with humans more effective.
You can visit Tia and chat with her using the following SLurl: slurl.com/secondlife/Cortex/27/231/56. A Second Life account is required to visit this location. Upon entering, she will greet you and ask how she may help. Using Chat, you can ask Tia a wide range of questions and she'll do her best to respond in an appropriate manner. She will ask for clarification should she not understand something. She even tells a joke or two upon request.
Computer driven bots can take many forms. Some feature a humanoid appearance while others may be machinery, animals or simply a presence. Offering the ability to interact, educate, provide presence and even train, bots are taking on serious roles in the virtual world realm. Whatever form they take, their effectiveness is seen in terms of trainee satisfaction and the ability to communicate using free-form discussion.
Virtual bots can be embedded into 3D learning and training environments to represent humans that role play in specific situations. A cast of characters can be used to replicate, or re-enact, real life situations. In doing so, an actual staff is not required in support. Trainees gain exposure to highly engaging online scenarios without traveling and risking costly new hire mistakes. Using virtual environments allow trainees to gain familiarity with work processes in complete safety.
Simulated humans can provide walking tours of 3D online spaces. Learning stations can be explored by groups of students or trainees to become familiar with real life environments. These environments can be open around the clock and accessible from anywhere in the world. Providing early access to simulated situations is an effective way to introduce associates to new concepts and surroundings.
The new hire demographic today is often associated with the Millennial generation. Some of our clients pursue use of virtual world environments not only for the inherent benefits, but to draw the attention of this demographic. This younger generation class has grown up alongside the use of technology, gaming and different lifestyles.
Cranial Tap, a virtual world developer, offers many types computer driven bots to meet nearly any learning and training need. Visit our Contact page to ask us how we can reduce your training costs while making them more effective.