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Technology: USC Institute for Creative Technologies Presents A Counselor That Is Almost Human (Video)

The USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) is really pushing the frontier on what tech can do in the realm of healthcare. ICT’s latest initiative combines two technologies – Multisense and SimSensi – to enable what, in effect, is a virtual counselor. Imagine a truly private visit to a therapist; one in which no other human, not even a human doctor/specialist, is present. The implications are fascinating (and kind of scary).

In the video above, Multisense is showing viewers how it “reads” the actors who are playing the clients in the clip.

Multisense automatically tracks and analyzes in real-time facial expressions, body posture, acoustic features, linguistic patterns and higher-level behavior descriptors (e.g. attention, fidgeting). From these signals and behaviors, indicators of psychological distress are inferred to inform directly the healthcare provider or the virtual human.’

Given what Multisense is picking up during the session, and sharing with SimSensei, the virtual counselor is giving human-like responses in real time. An actual counseling session, as a result, should be a real experience for a client.

SimSensei is a virtual human platform specifically designed for healthcare support and is based on the 10+ years of expertise at ICT with virtual human research and development. The platform enables an engaging face-to-face interaction where the virtual human automatically reacts to the perceived user state and intent, through its own speech and gestures.’

Amazing! But ICT is very clear on this point: This dual-tech platform is NOT a substitute for counseling. Rather, it is a support tool for counselors and healthcare providers; a powerful tool.

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