David Traum, Joe Henderer, Susan Robinson: “What Would You Ask a Conversational Agent? Observations of Human-Agent Dialogues in a Museum Setting”

May 20, 2008 | Marrakech, Morocco

Speaker: David Traum, Joe Henderer, Susan Robinson, Midhun Ittycheriah
Host: Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC)

Embodied Conversational Agents have typically been constructed for use in limited domain applications, and tested in very specialized environments. Only in recent years have there been more cases of moving agents into wider public applications (e.g. Bell et al., 2003; Kopp et al., 2005). Yet little analysis has been done to determine the differing needs, expectations, and behavior of human users in these environments. With an increasing trend for virtual characters to ‘go public’, we need to expand our understanding of what this entails for the design and capabilities of our characters. We explore these issues through an analysis of a corpus that has been collected since December 2006, from interactions with the virtual character Sgt Blackwell at the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York. The analysis includes 82 hierarchical categories of user utterances, as well as specific observations on user preferences and behaviors drawn from interactions with Blackwell.