Advanced Chatbot Could Help With Social Awkwardness

Researchers at MIT Media Lab are working on an automated personal-computer-based system designed to help people improve interpersonal and conversational skills. The software is called MACH, short for My Automated Conversation coacH. It makes use of a computer-generated onscreen face to simulate interactive conversations. It performs facial, speech, and behavior analysis and synthesis to emulate human-to-human responses. At the end of the session it provides the user with feedback on their performance.

Using a webcam the program can analyze facial expressions, including smiling and head gestures while its voice recognition system analyzes not only what you say but also how you say it and notes non-verbal vocalizations. As feedback you watch the video side-by-side with the analysis of your behavior — see the video of it in action. It has already been shown to improve job interview techniques and other potential uses are coaching in public speaking and dating.

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