Kris R. Thorisson


[ My Reykjavik University Pages ]

K. R. Thorisson


Welcome to my MIT WWWeb page

You are looking at one of the oldest personal WWW pages on the Internet, with the design, HTML, layout and even some of the content being exactly the same* as when it was launched, in early 1995. I suppose you could see it as lending a helping hand to Earth's unborn generations of archeologists.

The pages contain some of my work at the Media Lab, selected publications and various side projects. I have kept my publications page up to date.

I am an alumnus of the Advanced Human Interface Group (1990-1995), and the Gesture and Narrative Language Group (1995-1996) at the Media Lab

The primary focus of my research is human-cognition inspired artificial general intelligence and the primary form of expression for it was - and often still is - human-like computer characters. My doctoral thesis, Communicative Humanoids: A Computational Model of Psychosocial Dialogue Skills, presents an architectural blueprint for creating autonomous humanoid agents capable of real-time dialogue with human users. It is one of the most comprehenisive models of face-to-face, multimodal dialogue to date.

I co-founded Radar Networks, Inc., which was named one of the year's top 10 most innovative startups by Reuter's Venture Capital (RVC) in 2002. Our first product, Twine, based on an infrastructure I co-invented, was released in a closed beta in October 2007 (read about it: Technology Review, InformationWeek, Wired, New York Times: "The leading players include Danny Hillis, the founder of Metaweb, Barney Pell of PowerSet, and Nova Spivack, the co-founder of Radar Networks.").

The non-profit research center I founded and direct, the Icelandic Institute for Intelligent Machines, works with numerous industry partners to create prototypes across a range of industries.

I am Full Research Professor at Reykjavik University and member (and co-founder and former director) of CADIA, the first A.I. lab in Iceland, where I focus primarily on creating artificial general intelilgence – "true" AI. Here is my RU page.


point6.gif  Selected Publications


Communicative Humanoids

"tilt it like this, Gandalf"
G & I looking at big screen
face-to-face with Gandalf
User: "Tilt the planet like this, Gandalf"
[makes iconic gesture]
Gandalf: "Okey dokey" [turns to
looks at screen while tilting
Saturn around its axis]
User: [turns to Gandalf] "Gandalf, what
can you tellus about Saturn?" [Gandalf
turns back; starts tellingabout Saturn]
While computers are becoming more intelligent, current interaction methods, such as keyboards, mice and windows, still limit human-computer interaction to tool-level manipulation. Bringing a communication paradigm to the computer seems a worthy goal, especially if it's the type of communication that people use every day to interact with each other. I am working on making this possible by creating new architectures that model how people conduct fluent and reactive turn-taking and give real-time feedback in everyday face-to-face interactions. There are several key aspects to this work: [1] Bridging the full loop from perception to action, [2] Integration of reactive and reflective behavior, [3] real-time sensing and acting, and [4] using natural language and knowledge bases to provide a topic for discussion.   These are all addressed in my doctoral thesis, Communicative Humanoids: A Computational Model of Psychosocial Dialogue Skills, which describes a model of social interaction, and a system for creating autonomous humanoid agents capable of real-time face-to-face dialogue with human users.

The images above are stills from a video showing the author interacting with Gandalf — the prototype humanoid used to test the theories put forth in my thesis. Gandalf is capable of multimodal I/O including flexible turn-taking, back channel feedback, speech, facial & manual gesture. Oh, and, did I mention that it works in real-time?

point6.gif  About the Ymir architecture (Gandalf's mind)
point6.gif  About Gandalf
point6.gif  Videos of Gandalf
point6.gif  Gandalf in the news
point6.gif  Thesis: Communicative Humanoids — A Computational Model of Psychosocial Dialogue Skills (downloads and more)

Synthetic Synaesthesia  

Synthetic Synaesthesia

  This is a prototype interface that uses color and geometric principles to provide an intuitive interface for sound manipulation.

Simulated Perceptual Grouping


Gestalt analysis

People can build on assumptions about each other's perception of the world as a basis for simplifying discourse. This work describes an algorithm that simulates parts of the visual Gestalt grouping mechanism at the object level and uses it to simplify deictic references to multiple objects in multimodal interaction.




point6.gif  Selected Publications  
point6.gif  Writing  
point6.gif  Music  
point6.gif  In case you are wondering about my name  
point6.gif  My wife's beautiful website.    
point6.gif My brother's hillarious (and very true) account of what it's like to be into A.I. (Written 2006, when it used to be true -- things have actually changed quite a bit since!)
Politics: Does your country make the UN's "Freedom Top Ten"? Their Human Freedom Index will tell you.
(Sorry U.S. of A., "land-of-the-free", you didn't make it!)
point6.gif Politics: Does your country make the Reporters Without Border's "Freedom of the Press Top Ten"? 
Their Freedom of the Press Index will tell you. (Sorry U.S. of A., "land-of-the-free", you don't make it by a long shot.)


*  I started using tables quite some time after the launch. Also, I have updated the content somewhat, especially with regards to my thesis. Other material has been modified very little, if at all. The grand exception is my publications page, which has been kept up to date and grown quite a bit longer over the years!

K.R.Th. ©  —  All rights reserved. The views expressed in these pages are mine and solely mine (well, maybe someone out there agrees :-)