David DeVault, Kenji Sagae, David Traum: “Detecting the Status of a Predictive Incremental Speech Understanding Model for Real-Time Decision-Making in a Spoken Dialogue System”

August 30, 2011 | Florence, Italy

Speaker: David DeVault, Kenji Sagae, David Traum
Host: Interspeech 2011

We explore the potential for a responsive spoken dialogue system to use the real-time status of an incremental speech understanding model to guide its incremental decision-making about how to respond to a user utterance that is still in progress. Spoken dialogue systems have a range of potentially useful real-time response options as a user is speaking, such as providing acknowledgments or backchannels, interrupting the user to ask a clarification question or to initiate the system’s response, or even completing the user’s utterance at appropriate moments. However, implementing such incremental response capabilities seems to require that a system be able to assess its own level of understanding incrementally, so that an appropriate response can be selected at each moment. In this paper, we use a data-driven classification approach to explore the trade-offs that a virtual human dialogue system faces in reliably identifying how its understanding is progressing during a user utterance.