Virtual humans may be getting real-world jobs, training psychiatrists.
New technology makes it possible for virtual humans to interact with a therapist via a computer, while mimicking the symptoms of a patient with a clinical psychological disorder, Albert "Skip" Rizzo told colleagues at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., today (Aug. 3).
of conversations between a virtual character
and a therapist in training resemble video chats with a character from The Sims, a virtual-reality game. Speech recognition software allows the virtual patients to answer questions, so the therapist can make a preliminary diagnosis.