An empathic indigenous virtual agent to encourage medication adherence
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 19:48 authored by Wayne Charters
Australia’s First Peoples suffer from poor health and significantly lower life expectancy than most Australians. In response, the Australian Government launched the Closing the Gap Campaign, Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs) have been used to promote health in many situations using empathy to build a working alliance. While the results of prior work using IVAs is very encouraging, there has not been an attempt to use IVAs to help with the Closing the Gap campaign by Australian governments. This study created an IVA, an Indigenous IVA (IIVA) called Aunt, with Australia’s First Peoples characteristics (including appearance, voice and name) to encourage adherence to prescribed medication, healthy eating and exercise to a group of Australia’s First Peoples attending a medical centre on the NSW Central Coast. The poor uptake of the delivered technology highlights the endemic issues with reaching this group. Nevertheless, the artefacts developed and experiences resulting from this study aim to shape further development of IVAs to suit specific populations and inform researchers of the effectiveness of this technology.