A New Approach Seeks to Overcome Cultural Interoperability Issues

December 10, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Going beyond conventional training and education may be the key.


Even when interoperability challenges are not technical in nature, technology can help overcome the problems. Using cognitive interoperability may allow personnel to avoid thorny cultural issues that plague many attempts at interoperability.

Michael Moreno of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab explained the concept in a science and technology panel on day two of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2014, being held in Honolulu December 9-11. The approach is known as the Cultural Awareness Training Environment, or CATE. It is based on the fact that culture differs widely among partner nations, and achieving cognitive interoperability involves meaning, knowledge and understanding.

CATE can create a virtual environment and then a simulation-based environment. The trainee would be immersed in this environment for a realistic taste of the other partner’s culture.

Moreno explained that a user would be able to select the scenario into which he or she wanted to go. This user could opt for an avatar environment in which the characters also would be able to engage in nonverbal communication. This would provide 70 percent understanding between the parties, he pointed out.

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