Virtual Friend pursues the mission to help lonely people reduce their social anxiety by letting them talk to an AI-generated virtual being that listens to them like a good friend.
The woman you see on the right side was does not exist - she was created by deep learning technology. We made this woman talk and listen like a real person, or even like a real friend.
We tested this virtual being in a research project in which participants felt it was unexpectedly empathetic and approachable. On these grounds, we founded a non-profit organization in California that aims to help reduce social anxiety in people.
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This research investigates the effect of natural conversations with virtual beings on user perceptions with a current conversational AI model (Facebook Meta’s BlenderBot). To this aim, we designed a virtual being from a deep learning-generated face and a conversational AI model acting as a virtual conversation partner in an online conferencing software (Zoom) and evaluated it in 11 perceptions of social attributesMore (coming soon)
This research project investigates the role of the horizontal viewing angle on first impressions of virtual character faces.More (coming soon)
How Face Age Influences the Trait Inference of Virtual Characters' Attractiveness, Competence and Likeability.More (coming soon)
The metaverse is a emerging ecosystem with complete new capabilities. The virtual being is a new way to interact within this space & with machines and opens completely new opportunities of customer experiences.
At a time when loneliness is on the rise Virtual Friend is a much-needed initiative. By combining recent progress in AI and psychology they are doing something that will benefit many lives.
I clearly saw a huge potential for a Virtual Friend to improve the life quality of elderlies who are increasingly facing anxiety and loneliness. I thus believe that this organization can help a lot of people suffering.