05/03/2012 07:48 am ET Updated May 04, 2012

Virtual Humans In The Wild Wild West (VIDEO)

Have you ever had a conversation with a computer that wasn't one-sided? Virtual humans are the newest attempt to cross the uncanny valley and present individuals with computer-generated, interactive characters that can empathize, understand, and exhibit emotions. Artificial intelligence has come a long way, and research at the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies is pushing the limits of what's possible in modern computer science.

I sat down with William Swartout, the Institute's Director of Technology, to discuss the future of virtual human interaction. He also let me play in their virtual saloon, where I got into a gunfight that was just a little too real.

Click the link below and/or watch the video above to learn more. And don't forget to leave a comment! Talk nerdy to me!


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