Monday, December 17, 2012

Guild 3D Studio Virtual Assistant Denise



The ALICE A.I. Foundation recently received a review copy of the virtual assistant Denise from Guile 3D studio.   More than just a chatbot, the Denise system is a complete desktop assistant that includes a customizable talking animated avatar, is integrated with PC functions and web services, and even includes a full AIML development environment to create and modify the chat bot personality.   The Denise bot can be deployed on a PC desktop, or integrated into commercial applications such as kiosks and office systems.

Denise is the creation of Brazilian developer Guile Lindroth, who was inspired while working 

with a person with a serious upper body disability.  He decided to start to build a "Virtual Nurse" application, that could help her to operate a computer. Lindroth soon noticed that not only disabled users, but many others as well, were in search of virtual assistant technology.   To meet the need, he says, "I've joined my passion for 3D graphics with my skills as a System Annalist...to develop my own graphic engine that could show more realistic avatars as well as a new artificial intelligence interpreter."  

The Denise software implements the full AIML 1.1 standard as well as some extensions.  Unlike some chat bot systems that have been integrated with browsers, the Denise system includes its own integrated web browser.  The AIML extensions make it possible to control events in this browser, such as looking up information on Wikipedia.  Other extensions provide for integration with third-party applications including Skype, Email and Facebook.  It is even possible to connect Denise to an AIML bot running remotely on Pandorabots.

When you install and launch Denise, she initiates an interview to learn a little about you.  She remembers your name, age, gender and optionally much more information.   The system includes an integrated speech recognition system from Nuance, and Denise takes the user through a speech recognition training session to improve the accuracy of the recognizer.   After training, the user may begin a conversation with Denise, asking for information, send and receive emails, translating languages, or just enjoy a chat with the Denise personality.  The platform also includes an integrated AIML editor, so that the user can add his own custom voice commands. 

Guile Lindroth was able to secure an investment to launch his company and the Denise project.  He says his biggest challenge is "keeping the dream alive...(while) competing against giants."   Lindroth sees three major areas of technical advancement: improved realism of avatars, improved speech recognition, and improved artificial intelligence.  Because the Denise system is designed to help computer users complete tasks, Lindroth says it doesn't have to be "out of this world AI", but AI that is good enough to understand and assist users.  Forseeing a time when ubiquitous, learning virtual assistants will control home automation systems, serve us in our cars, keep us informed and connected, and act as virtual office assistants at work, Lindroth says "We are actually not far from this day."


Denise is available in three versions from Guile 3D.

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