Re: MS Agent

Subject: Re: MS Agent
From: John Ballard <JohnBallard -at- DigitalCourseBooks -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 11:33:11 -0500

> Hi Peter,
> You wrote:
> As implemented in MS Office by MS, I agree that it
> sucks. I was
> referring to creative use of the technology as a
> training aid. If the
> technology is used properly, one can have several
> characters carrying on
> a conversation, that can vary with the user's input.

I agree completely. The key phrase is "creative use."
I've toyed with the idea of having two Agent characters
appear in a CBT and converse for entertainment and
introduction purposes. This is completely different
from Microsoft's implementation. I think Microsoft tried
to do way too much with Clippie. I think an agent should
only appear on rare occasions to introduce something new,
to make an announcement, or to "wake up" the user.

> I doubt the technology could do that. The MS agent
> calls on sophisticated algorithms using Bayesian
> Probability formulae to interpret the state of mind of
> the user. <snip>
> Regards
> Raj

I agree that the technology fails at interpreting what
users are doing and what they are trying to do.
The key problem is that Clippie appears
when he's not wanted. I think Agent characters
(even two at once) can be successful if they don't
try to guess at what users are doing.

John Ballard
Digital CourseBooks

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