Socially Intelligent Systems are software/hardware systems that show socially intelligent behaviours in the way they interact with people. Ideally speaking, they can sense and interpret social and affective signals from the humans that interact with them and respond in a socially appropriate way.
The ICT-science challenge is to develop technologies that can detect social signals from non-verbal behavior and (possibly other) technologies that can exhibit relevant social behavior (intelligent virtual agents). We intend to give computer systems more humanity so that they will be more effective in situations where social intelligence plays an important role. We want to make systems do more to understand people rather than have systems that require capabilities of the humans who wish to use them.
The project aims to improve intelligent interactive systems – endowing them with social intelligence – as well as the process of designing socially intelligent systems by establishing guidelines on how to design for social inclusion (resulting in a toolkit that can be used by designers and developers). The ICT challenge to improve social awareness of systems involves three fields of research. The first is social signal processing where the project aims for algorithms that can detect social information automatically from multimodal cues (speech and video; in particular focusing on posture and body movement). The second is artificial intelligence where the project works on intelligent agents on norms and social relationships. The third is human computer interaction, where inclusive design methods will be proposed and tested.
The project is inspired by the idea that anybody and everybody should be able to interact with computer systems in the environment and that, in turn; computers systems should become more socially aware and capable. As well as inspiration, there is a growing need for all members of our society to be able to interact with computer-based information and support. Increasingly, (local) authorities expect people to be able to solve their own problems and to take the initiative to ask for support via web applications instead of being offered support by social workers visiting their area as once was the case. Some members of society are less well equipped for modern society than others. Universal Access calls for systems that are designed for people with low-literacy skills, small children, those living outside their native country, the elderly and even those with severe disabilities as well as people with varying social skills.