Digital Coaches FAQ

Digital Coach FAQs

Interested in the cutting-edge technology that allows Maryville to provide student support with a team of Digital Coaches? These commonly asked questions and answers provide insight into the technology that powers digital people. Have a question that’s not answered here? Reach out to us at digitalcoach@maryville.edu.
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What is a Maryville Digital Coach?

Maryville University’s team of Digital Coaches uses the latest technology to help you get connected to the Maryville community. They are available 24/7 and can assist you with various topics ranging from student support, career services, Maryville program offerings, and more.

Why should I turn on my microphone when interacting with a Maryville Digital Coach?

Turning your microphone on enables the digital person to hear you. If you don’t want to activate your microphone, you can always turn on the text chat option and type your questions or responses. The digital person will read them and reply verbally. If for some reason you cannot hear them, the reply can be read in the text chat.

Why should I allow the Maryville Digital Coach to see me through my camera?

Turning your camera on enables the digital person to see you, which influences the way they respond to you. The digital person can establish eye contact, track you if you move from one side to the other and even pick up on some facial indications of your response. If you smile, they will smile back. If you move, their gaze will follow you. They can also detect if you leave the room and come back.

Does the Maryville Digital Coach record my video or audio?

No audio or video is ever captured or stored. Anonymized text transcript logs may be captured and analyzed to improve the conversation, but no data is traceable to an individual user.

How does the Maryville Digital Coach decide how to respond to my questions?

The digital person is powered by a digital brain that converts the typed or audio inputs to a text string and sends it to an AI-powered Natural Language Engine (NLE). The NLE interprets the question and finds the best response given a conversation corpus and access to relevant databases. The selected response is translated back from text to speech by the digital person, then paired with facial expressions and gestures appropriate to the conversation.

How does the Maryville Digital Coach know when to smile or frown?

The digital person perceives the emotion of the user through the content of the conversation and the user’s facial expressions. In return, the mood of the digital person (happy, concerned, neutral, etc.) and strength of their facial expressions are tied to the meaning and intensity of the words and sentences used to respond to the user. This allows the user and digital person to establish an emotional connection.

Are the Maryville Digital Coaches modeled after real people?

The Maryville Digital Coaches are not intended to mimic any specific real people. Although, creating a “digital twin” of a real person is possible. With their operating system, Human OS 2.0, Soul Machines is mastering the generation of digital people through descriptions of phenotypes including parameters such as gender, skin texture and geometries.

Does the Maryville Digital Coach use facial recognition?

A digital person does not perform facial recognition in the sense of person identification. This is an intentional policy from Soul Machines to avoid complex privacy issues. A digital person only detects presence, location and facial expressions, and only if the user allows the use of the camera.

Did Maryville University build the Maryville Digital Coaches?

Maryville’s Digital Coaches were created through a partnership between Maryville University and Soul Machines. Soul Machines’ technology is what creates the digital people’s looks and allows them to respond, move and gesture autonomously. Maryville’s knowledge is what populates the digital people’s brains, allowing them to answer your questions and provide valuable information.