Members of the modern American military must communicate closely with people whose culture is radically alien to their own. Communication requires a Marine to understand profoundly complex social structures, as well as learning elements of foreign language and new forms of non-verbal communication. Ideally, the Marine trains for deployment in a simulated village filled with actors native to the culture being studied. This is expensive and often unavailable. Few Marines have sufficient opportunity to practice cross-cultural communication before they need it.
Simulations – and games built on simulation – allow all Marines to exercise these skills. The exercise is inexpensive and reliable. However development of any simulation is expensive and risky – particularly a simulation of human behavior in a complex society. The goal of People Kit is to make it easy for Marine trainers to create simulations that model particular societies. It is focused on rapid modeling of obscure and poorly understood societies, by directly engaging representative members of that society .
The technology rests on a model of social relationships that combines firm psychological principals with modern graph theory. Individuals are entirely defined by their relationships. The model powers a simulation of social interaction that can interact with a human player. The prototype simulation demonstrates members of a Somali refugee camp communicating with an American Marine. All simulants use nonverbal cues: Gesture, Posture, Proxemics and Facial Expression.
The system’s distinguishing feature is the simple powerful tool that collects data from local informants. The non-verbal tool has no literacy or language requirement, but can quickly construct a working simulation. The underlying social model can be further refined at any time.
For more details, read the white paper.