Relational Agents are computer agents designed to form long-term, social-emotional relationships with their users. We are investigating the use of these agents in task domains in which human-agent relationships actually improve task outcomes, such as in coaching, counseling, psychotherapy and healthcare.

An Always On Relational Agent for Social Support of Older Adults

The purpose of this project is the creation of intelligent virtual and robotic agents capable of providing social, instrumental, and social network support to older adults living alone. The resulting agents are capable of continuous, always on, operation, with persistent social and relational goals, enabling them to proactively provide support. The agents will be evaluated in a series of longitudinal studies in which several virtual and robotic agents are installed in the homes of older adults.

This work is in collaboration with Drs. Candy Sidner and Chuck Rich at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and is supported by the National Science Foundation (IIS-09557).