Would you like to talk to Charles Dickens?

| Michaela Nesvarova

Having a conversation with your favorite author – such as Jane Austen or Charles Dickens - will be possible soon. Human Media Interaction Group (CTIT) of the University of Twente is working on creating virtual writers as a part of an exciting project titled ARIA-VALUSPA, focused on development of artificial intelligence.

Photo by: Gijs van Ouwerkerk

ARIA-VALUSPA is an international project aiming to create advanced virtual agents – ARIAs (Affective Retrieval of Information Assistants) - that are able to engage in realistic and humanlike dialogues with their users.

Virtual writers

The project started in January 2015 and is scheduled to last three years. The first demo application should be developed within the first two years.

‘The first application we will develop is a virtual writer,’ says Professor Dirk Heylen, the project’s coordinator for the UT. ‘We will recreate a famous literary author based on their books and biographies.’

‘Users will then be able to have conversations with these virtual writers, who will talk as a real person. To make the characters realistic, we cooperate with companies that specialize in creating virtual agents and voices.’

‘At this moment, we are thinking about recreating writers like Gustav Flaubert, Charles Dickens or Jane Austen. I believe this is a fun and interesting use of technology that will lead to big advances in artificial intelligence.’

Read more about the project in the May issue of UT Nieuws Magazine