Virtual Human

I saw this program online it is designed to be an online interactive counseling session with a SimCoach. When I first saw this I thought what a nice tool for therapy.  I saw the ad for this on YouTube what sticks out to me is that the SimCoach describes himself as a “Virtual human made up of the thoughts and experiences of war heroes and their families”.  I found myself stuck on the term virtual human. In class we spoke about different species, and I wondered if this could be considered a new species of human. With all the technology being created and people becoming more and more dependent on technology it makes sense that the next species is based in technology. I would like to know specifically how many people made up this character. I went on to the website to check it out and see how smooth it went. You can definitely tell that it is still in the early stages and improvements will need to be made.  If this program works well more services could be offered with virtual humans becoming more prevalent. Since the virtual human reacts, thinks and responds to a person’s inquiry it could be treated as an actual person. I think about how people could use a virtual human as someone other than a coach. I picture people using it to recreate loved ones that have died. This is what will become the next species of virtual human. I picture people and families creating virtual humans based on people they have lost in their lives. Which could be okay if done on a short term basis but I doubt people would stop using, and it would end up only prolonging their pain. This makes me question can my personality, thoughts, and feelings be put in to someone else. As humans we are full of our ideas, views, and opinions. If we are able to take that and attach it to a virtual human I question whose thoughts are they really? When the virtual human is responding are they the computer saying what it thinks you would say or your thoughts. A virtual human could essentially never die. A person who is dying could create a virtual human of themselves to interact with their family after they die. This virtual human that looks like, thinks, and responds just like they would if they were still around.  I do not know if this program will grow but it is very intriguing to wonder about but a little to creepy for me to actually want to try.  Personally I would rather speak to an actual counselor than a virtual one. I am sure I could find a counselor or therapist that would video chat if we could not meet in person. I am aware that there are online support groups and therapist already so I think both of those options are great. I don’t see why someone would pick a virtual human over speaking with an actual human. Is so annoying calling into a place and getting stuck their VRU. I much rather deal with an actual person than a machine.

 

Here is where you can try the SimCoach:

http://www.simcoach.org/

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3 Comments

  1. I agree with you about getting stuck talking to a machine, it sucks! I do question whether or not a virtual human “reacts, thinks, and responds.” In some sense they do, but for the most part they are just taking your inputs then spitting out a response. If you asked me a question everyday I would probably give you different answers depending on my mood and feelings at the time. If you do the same thing with these virtual humans they will almost certainly give you the same answer every time.
    I think that translates somewhat for the person that makes a virtual human of themselves. Who knows maybe one day instead of looking at pictures of deceased loves ones, you could just go talk to a virtual version of them instead.

  2. I think the idea of this virtual human is very interesting. I agree that creating a virtual human for a deceased loved one may sound like a good idea, but I agree that it would make the pain more ongoing and you would never heal emotionally with the loss of them as much as people often do.

  3. Hm what a though would a virtual human be a new species. I’m sure soon it will be up for debate. I feel with creating a virtual human for a deceased loved one is a bad idea because people need to grieve. They may become attached to something that is not real and in the end it would probably give them more pain than help with dealing with the death of their loved one. Interesting post.

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