gesture.jpg The University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute (phew!) has posted an intriguing 'serious games'-related news story discussing "a set of ISI- created videogames called "Tactical Language and Culture" that the armed forces now use to teach language and customs to soldiers quickly."

According to the piece, "Hundreds of soldiers have trained with "Tactical Iraqi," while a "Tactical Pashto" is being readied for Afghanistan", as "a learner controls a figure representing themselves, who interacts with other characters who are animated by artificial intelligence", in work that has been "financed by DARPA, and carried on at ISI's Center for Advanced Research in Technology for Education (CARTE)."

ISI's Lewis Johnson explains the reasoning behind the U.S. Government-funded project further, commentingr: "Nonverbal gestures can sometimes be a source of confusion, since people in different cultures tend to employ different gestures. So we believe that it is important to include nonverbal communication in Tactical Language and Culture, both to promote verbal learning and to train people to communicate effectively face to face with people in other cultures."