The Inclusion of Reference Seeds in Generated Dialogue

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Title: The Inclusion of Reference Seeds in Generated Dialogue
Author: Garlick, Joanna Shannon
Advisors: Michael Young, Chair
Robert St. Amant, Member
James Lester, Member
Abstract: In the course of natural dialogue, humans are able to effectively use previous conversation. This is true for many types of dialogue, including instructional or task-related conversation. When human speakers effectively leverage past conversation for illustrative or comparative purposes, their hearers reap the benefits of increased dialogue coherency and are better able to assimilate knowledge. The practice of utilizing past utterances in current conversation is called referencing. It is believed that if computer agents could utilize referencing the way humans do, these agents would produce more natural-sounding and effective dialogue. For this reason, the natural language community has conducted a fair amount of research into referencing. While most of the past and current research focuses on identifying opportunities to refer backward and how to do so, this research focuses on the novel concept of a reference seed. We introduce the term seed to refer to a piece of information opportunistically included in generated dialogue with the intent that it be referred back to in the future. We show how seeds and references can be implemented using discourse planning operators and identify some general rules for when to do so. We also discuss a test system implemented to showcase the potential of the concept and report the encouraging results of an informal user study we have conducted.
Date: 2001-11-07
Degree: MS
Discipline: Computer Science

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