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While it's not available on the market as a commercial product yet, the new software module called MACH (My Automated Conversation CoacH) from MIT researchers aims to help a lot of people with a very common problem: social interaction and speaking skills.
Over on Physx.org, there's a detailed write-up accompanied with an easy-to-access (and equally easy to understand) video showing off how users interact with MACH and how it can help improve communication, speaking and social interacting skills for real-life.
Doctoral student M. Ehsan Hoque laid down some righteous knowledge about the new project and how it can help people out there who struggle to speak their mind and speak it rightly, adequately and confidently, saying...
"Interpersonal skills are the key to being successful at work and at home," ... "How we appear and how we convey our feelings to others define us. But there isn't much help out there to improve on that segment of interaction."
In controlled experiments, those using the MACH software performed better in mock interview sessions with unbeknownst counselors, as opposed to those who only watched some interview advice videos.
Research associate professor of computer science and psychology at the University of Southern California, Jonathan Gratch, stated that...
"While it may seem odd to use computers to teach us how to better talk to people, such software plays an important [role] in more comprehensive programs for teaching social skills [and] may eventually play an essential step in developing key interpersonal skills,"... "Such programs also offer important advantages over the human role-players often used to teach such skills. They can faithfully embody a specific theory of pedagogy, and thus can be more consistent than human role-players."
Well also the whole computer interaction thing only makes it awkward that you're talking to a computer, as opposed to making it awkward when role-playing with a human where not only will you feel awkward but the person you're role-playing with will feel about as out of place as an airsoft paintball aficionado stuck in a parent-teacher conference to curb gun violence. It doesn't end well for anyone.
Still, this brings up an interesting way to deal with sociology, especially given that it would seem like human interaction and speech affability would be a standard in school starting at early ages, something that's just know starting to become standard practice.
I know most early learning classes focus on phonics, spelling, enunciation and pronunciation but it seems like this MACH software would be perfectly instituted in early kindergarten classrooms to help kids learn how to speak clearly and confidently...and not just when yelling obscenities into the mic while playing Call of Duty while chowing down on Dew and Doritos.
Thanks for the news tip Skyler H.