virtual characters are graphical simulations of real or imaginary
persons capable of human-like behaviour, most importantly
talking and gesturing. Coupled with artificial intelligence
(AI) techniques, the virtual characters are expected to represent
the ultimate abstraction of a human-computer interface, the
one where the computer looks, talks and acts like a human.
Such an interface would include audio/video analysis and synthesis
techniques combined with AI, dialogue management and a vast
knowledge base in order to be able to respond quasi-intelligently
to the users - by speech, gesture and even mood. While this
goal lies further on in the future, we present an architecture
that reaches towards it, at the same time aiming for a possibility
of practical applications in nearer future. Our architecture
is aimed specifically at the Web. It involves a talking virtual
character capable of involvement in a fairly meaningful conversation
with the user who types in the input.