Defining Virtual Humans

In the first chapter of the book we look at existing definitions of Virtual Humans, identify the key traits of virtual humans, and then develop our own working definitions. We'll use this page to share this definition and to refine it and the trait model, and to track other emerging definitions and models.

Definitions of “Virtual Humans”

In the book we use the following working definition for Virtual Humans:

"Software programs which present as human and which may have behavior, emotion, thinking, autonomy and interaction modelled on physical human capabilities."
We also offer the following definitions for very basic virtual humans, which we refer to virtual humanoids, and for the most developed form which we refer to as virtual sapiens:

Virtual Humanoids - "Simple virtual humans which present to a limited degree as human and which may reflect in a limited way some of the behavior, emotion, thinking, autonomy and interaction of a physical human."

Virtual Sapiens: - "Sophisticated virtual humans which achieve similar levels of presentation, behavior, emotion, thinking, autonomy, interaction, self-awareness and internal narrative to a physical human."

Virtual Human Traits

In the book we define 10 traits which define the main features which a virtual human can have, and then use a radar plot/spider diagram to plot for any given virtual human system or type how well developed each element is.

For a definition of each trait see the book!

Supporting Material for the Book

Here are some resources to help those reading the book, providing images and quotes we couldn't fit in, relevant links and key references.

Additional Links from the Text

Selected References

Egan, G. (1994). Permutation City. London: Orion.

Egan, G. (1997). Diaspora.  London: Orion.

Legg, S., & Hutter. M. (2007) A Collection of Definitions of Intelligence. Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications, Vol.157 (2007) 17-24. Available online

Van Lun, E., (2011). 161 Humanlike Conversational AI Synonyms. Chatbots.Org. Available online

[Thin out before live]

Only references with URLs are included:

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