September 18, 2023

Simulation Labs Offers AI Chat to Practice Ombuds Skills

Courtney Chicvak, a professional mediator and lecturer at Columbia University School of Professional Studies, has created a large language model chatbot that replicates an initial meeting with an Ombuds. Built on the Simulation Labs platform, the artificial intelligence simulates an employee with workplace concerns. The user plays the Ombuds and converses with "visitor" using a text interface. (Some users report adding speech recognition software to make the experience more lifelike.) The visitor's scenario is unique on each play and the interactions are driven by the Ombuds' questions and comments. At the end of the case, the visitor will offer feedback for the Ombuds. The model is free to use.

Simulation Labs was born at MIT when Kevin Jiang wanted to have more opportunities to practice negotiating outside of his negotiation class. With the recent advances in AI such as ChatGPT, he was able to build a simulation that could mimic negotiating with another student. Jiang contacted faculty at Harvard, Columbia, and Yale, and now professors at all these universities use Simulation Labs to create their own simulations. He was joined by a co-founder, Aryo Patel earlier this year and since then thousands of users have come to the site both for professional development and entertainment. Jiang and Patel are encouraging users to develop their own scenarios for negotiation, mediation and conflict resolution. (Simulation Labs Ombuds Scenario.)

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