Charting New Frontiers: An Exploratory Expedition and Pilot Study on Chattable Virtual Avatars, Unveiling Ethical and Social Dimensions in Content Delivery
University of Bath: Cangxiong Chen, Deborah Brewis
University of Bristol: Barbara Caddick
Cardiff University: Yipeng Qin (PI)
University of Exeter: Peidong Mei
This project aims to prototype chattable virtual avatars (CVAs) that go beyond traditional interfaces for content delivery and to explore their social implications. Unlike generic, text-only, one-size-fits-all solutions (e.g., ChatGPT), the avatar will be personalized, anthropomorphic and adaptable. By focusing on user experience rather than sheer intelligence this will seek to fulfil human preference for emotional connections.
By leveraging state-of-the-art techniques, the project will create a prototype that combines large language models, text-to-audio conversion, and audio-driven talking head animation. It is envisioned that this advanced avatar will communicate in a human-like manner, unlocking the potential to revolutionise human-computer interactions and opening up new possibilities in various applications. Particularly where interaction is based on or facilitated by a conversational approach.
The project will investigate whether avatars may help museums and archives to increase access to their collections online for those who are not able to physically visit exhibitions. Together with museum and archive stakeholders the team will explore whether CVAs could make visiting an online exhibition more interactive, engaging and enjoyable.