Lyra: Simulating Believable Opinionated Virtual Characters


Creating believable simulations of large populations of characters in virtual worlds represents a grand challenge for interactive artificial intelligence, requiring reasoning about social intelligence. In this paper, we focus on one aspect of this challenge: the dynamics of opinion change for virtual characters and its relationship with social affinity. We developed a simulated population of characters that debate politically-charged topics, called Lyra. Character knowledge, opinions, and biases spread through this society based on existing cognitive models and social science theories. Our simulation generates outlines of group conversations that portray the system?s evolution, and clusters characters into affinity groups based on the outcome of the debates. We conducted a human-subjects study to evaluate these generated conversations and affinity groups for their believability and to inform future iterations of the simulation. We believe successful simulation of opinion change in social dynamics provides a foundation for computational recognition, prediction, and interfacing with humans.

Proceedings of the 15th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment
Sasha Azad
Ph.D. Computer Science Candidate

Sasha Azad is a Ph.D. Computer Science candidate at NC State University. Her main research interests lie in the field of Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, AI for Storytelling, AI for Social Simulation, and Computational Social Science.