Gudny Jonsdottir, Jonathan Gratch, Edward Fast, Kristinn Thorisson: “Fluid Semantic Back-Channel Feedback in Dialogue: Challenges and Progress”

September 17, 2007 | Paris, France

Speaker: Gudny Jonsdottir, Jonathan Gratch, Edward Fast, Kristinn Thorisson
Host: 7th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA 2007)

Participation in natural, real-time dialogue calls for behaviors supported by perception-action cycles from around 100 msec and up. Generating certain kinds of such behaviors, namely envelope feedback, has been possible since the early 90s. Real-time backchannel feedback related to the content of a dialogue has been more difficult to achieve. In this paper we describe our progress in allowing virtual humans to give rapid within-utterance content-specific feedback in real-time dialogue. We present results from human-subject studies of content feedback, where results show that content feedback to a particular phrase or word in human-human dialogue comes 560-2500 msec from the phrase’s onset, 1 second on average. We also describe a system that produces such feedback with an autonomous agent in limited topic domains, present performance data of this agent in human-agent interactions experiments and discuss technical challenges in light of the observed human-subject data.