Incremental interpretation and prediction of utterance meaning for interactive dialogue

David DeVault, Kenji Sagae, David Traum


We present techniques for the incremental interpretation and
prediction of utterance meaning in dialogue systems. These techniques
open possibilities for systems to initiate responsive overlap behaviors
during user speech, such as interrupting, acknowledging, or completing a user's utterance while it is still in progress. In an implemented system, we show that relatively high accuracy can be achieved in understanding of spontaneous utterances before utterances are completed. Further, we present a method for determining when a system has reached a point of maximal understanding of an ongoing user utterance, and show that this
determination can be made with high precision. Finally, we discuss
a prototype implementation that shows how systems can use these
abilities to strategically initiate system completions of user
utterances. More broadly, this framework facilitates the
implementation of a range of overlap behaviors that are common in
human dialogue, but have been largely absent in dialogue systems.

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www.dialogue-and-discourse.orgISSN: 2152-9620   Journal doi: 10.5087/dad