CS 124 / LING 180 From Languages to Information
Dan Jurafsky, Winter 2019

Week 9: Group Exercises on Chatbots/Dialog Agents on Mobile Devices
Mar 5, 2019

Your goal today, now that you are experts in chatbot technology, is to explore the state of the art for chatbots on phones. You are going to evaluate the conversational and QA features of the personal assistants on your phone, Siri, Google Now, Alexa, Cortana, etc., keeping in mind the type of things we were thinking about in the rubric for our PA6 chatbot.

It's best if you have more than one personal assistant in your group, so you can compare and contrast! But if not, it's ok, just work on one.

After each of the following four questions, we will report back some of your results to the whole room, so make note of your group's interesting results.

  1. Speech Recognition Performance Write a couple of texts or emails using voice. Answer these questions with your group:

  2. Task performance: Test out some tasks like making/canceling some calendar appointments or getting recommendations for a business (restaurant or etc.). Analyze any errors and note interesting examples. For example did they fail because of speech recognition (the wrong words were recognized) or natural language understanding (the words were right, but the system still didn't understand), Or is the problem in the recommendation engine? Are there disambiguation errors?

  3. Chatbot and Discourse/Dialog Performance: Does the system feel conversational? Fluent? For example can it make use of the discourse context (e.g. some previous turns in the conversation)? Does it remember things you told it earlier? Can it use dialogue for disambiguation? Or how about personality? Or does it ever surprise you in a positive way?

  4. Building the better conversational agent: Let's try to design a better dialogue system. Discuss in your groups some abilities you'd like to add, especially those that require real dialogue (i.e. dialogues that have more than one turn each, not just simple command and control). I'm hoping you'll bring in some ideas that you learned in building your own chatbots!