The virtual and the physical: two frames of mind

Virtual and physical embodiments of interactive artificial agents utilize similar core technologies for perception, planning, and interaction and engage with people in similar ways. Thus, designers have typically considered these embodiments to be broadly interchangeable, and the choice of embodiment primarily depends on the practical demands of an application. This paper will make the case that virtual and physical representations elicit fundamentally different frames of mind in the users of the technology and follow different metaphors for interaction. These differences elicit different expectations, forms of engagement, and eventually interaction outcomes. It will discuss the design implications of these frames of mind, arguing for different domains of interaction serving as appropriate context for virtual and physical embodiments.

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