Automated conversation coach helps humans become less creepy

One of the most oft-cited personality quirks of geeks, dorks, and nerds is their inability to connect with others in social situations. The My Automated Conversation coach (MACH) is a system devised to help the socially awkward improve their human interaction skills through practice with a virtual person. Using a 3D character, the system allows the user to interact in a number of situations and then evaluate their own behavior through facial and speech analysis software. 

For those of you who are social butterflies, this system may sound ridiculous, but for the truly socially awkward, MACH represents "exactly" the kind of approach to improving interpersonal relations a logic-first emotion-second individual would gravitate towards. 

To test the effectiveness of the system the creator of MACH, M. Ehsan Hoque, used 90 MIT undergraduate students (basically, the perfect testing group) who demonstrated improved social interaction performance after using the system. Hoque writes on his research project website, "we are currently expanding this technology to open up new possibilities in behavioral health (e.g., treating people with Asperger syndrome, social phobia, PTSD)."

You can see the MACH system in action in the video below. 

Via MIT

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