Confronting conflicts and coping with them is part of social life. Indeed, conflicts seem to arise in almost every context and developmental stage of human life, from scuffles in schoolyards, to bullying in the workplace and to international warfare. While the question of whether conflicts are inevitable or not is disputed, there is widespread agreement that the current prevalence and lack of resolution to conflicts is incurring substantial cost to society at large. The personal and collective gains that follow conflict resolution have motivated scholars in the fields of law, education, organisational management, psychology and social science, among others, to advocate the use of pro-social mechanisms for resolution. Interventions that may impart individuals with experience in resolving conflicts will be of clear benefit to society.
Improving conflict resolution skills among the population at large is of paramount importance for a healthier, more peaceful and productive European society. These skills are best taught in early years, using teaching tools that are appropriate and engaging for today's children, for whom computer games and social networks are natural parts of life. The SIREN project aims to create a new type of educational game, the conflict resolution game, which takes advantage of recent advances in serious games, social networks, computational intelligence and emotional modelling to create uniquely motivating and educating games that can help shape how children think about and handle conflict. The software developed by the project will be able to automatically generate conflict scenarios that fit the teaching needs of particular groups of children with varying cultural background, maturity, and technical expertise, and the desired learning outcomes as specified by a teacher. This will enable the system to be used by school teachers all over Europe, without specific technical training. To realize this vision, a number of advances to the state of the art will be made throughout the various disciplines that members of our thoroughly multi-disciplinary consortium specialize in.
The key aim of the Siren project is to create an intelligent interactive software system, specifically a serious game, which supports teachers’ role to educate young people on how to resolve conflicts.