Back when I was a kid and computers were running on CGA and EGA graphics, where Intel’s 8088 microprocessors and 5.25” floppies ruled the roost, there was one main reason to get a computer by bugging my dad day in, day out – to play some games like Centipede or Road Rash. Well, there was also the “side benefit” of a computer helping me with my schoolwork, but I guess everyone knew that such an excuse was pure hogwash. Having said that, computers have advanced so far these days, that it can assist us in everyday life situations, such as this new software from the boffins over at MIT that will allow you to practice interpersonal skills, ironically, with a computer.
After all, it is said that social phobias happen to affect approximately 15 million adults in the US alone, and this statistic was supplied by the National Institute of Mental Health, where surveys do point to activities such as public speaking being high up on the list where such phobias are concerned. MIT’s latest software allows people to practice their interpersonal skills until they are more comfortable with such situations, and the MACH (My Automated Conversation coacH) software would rely on a computer-generated onscreen face, which will be accompanied by facial, speech, and behavior analysis and synthesis software, all the while simulating face-to-face conversations. Hopefully the socially inept won’t fall in love with the MACH software instead…
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