If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
This work presents an exploration and imitation-learning-based agent capable of state-of-the-art performance in playing text-based computer games. Text-based computer games describe their world to the player through natural language and expect the player to interact with the game using text. These games are of interest as they can be seen as a testbed for language understanding, problem-solving, and language generation by artificial agents. Moreover, they provide a learning environment in which these skills can be acquired through interactions with an environment rather than using fixed corpora. One aspect that makes these games particularly challenging for learning agents is the combinatorially large action space. Existing methods for solving text-based games are limited to games that are either very simple or have an action space restricted to a predetermined set of admissible actions. In this work, we propose to use the exploration approach of Go-Explore for solving text-based games. More specifically, in an initial exploration phase, we first extract trajectories with high rewards, after which we train a policy to solve the game by imitating these trajectories. Our experiments show that this approach outperforms existing solutions in solving text-based games, and it is more sample efficient in terms of the number of interactions with the environment. Moreover, we show that the learned policy can generalize better than existing solutions to unseen games without using any restriction on the action space.
As the field of Spoken Dialogue Systems and Conversational AI grows, so does the need for tools and environments that abstract away implementation details in order to expedite the development process, lower the barrier of entry to the field, and offer a common test-bed for new ideas. In this paper, we present Plato, a flexible Conversational AI platform written in Python that supports any kind of conversational agent architecture, from standard architectures to architectures with jointly-trained components, single- or multi-party interactions, and offline or online training of any conversational agent component. Plato has been designed to be easy to understand and debug and is agnostic to the underlying learning frameworks that train each component.
Encoder-decoder based neural architectures serve as the basis of state-of-the-art approaches in end-to-end open domain dialog systems. Since most of such systems are trained with a maximum likelihood(MLE) objective they suffer from issues such as lack of generalizability and the generic response problem, i.e., a system response that can be an answer to a large number of user utterances, e.g., "Maybe, I don't know." Having explicit feedback on the relevance and interestingness of a system response at each turn can be a useful signal for mitigating such issues and improving system quality by selecting responses from different approaches. Towards this goal, we present a system that evaluates chatbot responses at each dialog turn for coherence and engagement. Our system provides explicit turn-level dialog quality feedback, which we show to be highly correlated with human evaluation. To show that incorporating this feedback in the neural response generation models improves dialog quality, we present two different and complementary mechanisms to incorporate explicit feedback into a neural response generation model: reranking and direct modification of the loss function during training. Our studies show that a response generation model that incorporates these combined feedback mechanisms produce more engaging and coherent responses in an open-domain spoken dialog setting, significantly improving the response quality using both automatic and human evaluation.
Khatri, Chandra, Hedayatnia, Behnam, Venkatesh, Anu, Nunn, Jeff, Pan, Yi, Liu, Qing, Song, Han, Gottardi, Anna, Kwatra, Sanjeev, Pancholi, Sanju, Cheng, Ming, Chen, Qinglang, Stubel, Lauren, Gopalakrishnan, Karthik, Bland, Kate, Gabriel, Raefer, Mandal, Arindam, Hakkani-Tur, Dilek, Hwang, Gene, Michel, Nate, King, Eric, Prasad, Rohit
Building open domain conversational systems that allow users to have engaging conversations on topics of their choice is a challenging task. Alexa Prize was launched in 2016 to tackle the problem of achieving natural, sustained, coherent and engaging open-domain dialogs. In the second iteration of the competition in 2018, university teams advanced the state of the art by using context in dialog models, leveraging knowledge graphs for language understanding, handling complex utterances, building statistical and hierarchical dialog managers, and leveraging model-driven signals from user responses. The 2018 competition also included the provision of a suite of tools and models to the competitors including the CoBot (conversational bot) toolkit, topic and dialog act detection models, conversation evaluators, and a sensitive content detection model so that the competing teams could focus on building knowledge-rich, coherent and engaging multi-turn dialog systems. This paper outlines the advances developed by the university teams as well as the Alexa Prize team to achieve the common goal of advancing the science of Conversational AI. We address several key open-ended problems such as conversational speech recognition, open domain natural language understanding, commonsense reasoning, statistical dialog management and dialog evaluation. These collaborative efforts have driven improved experiences by Alexa users to an average rating of 3.61, median duration of 2 mins 18 seconds, and average turns to 14.6, increases of 14%, 92%, 54% respectively since the launch of the 2018 competition. For conversational speech recognition, we have improved our relative Word Error Rate by 55% and our relative Entity Error Rate by 34% since the launch of the Alexa Prize. Socialbots improved in quality significantly more rapidly in 2018, in part due to the release of the CoBot toolkit, with new entrants attaining an average rating of 3.35 just 1 week into the semifinals, compared to 9 weeks in the 2017 competition.
Venkatesh, Anu, Khatri, Chandra, Ram, Ashwin, Guo, Fenfei, Gabriel, Raefer, Nagar, Ashish, Prasad, Rohit, Cheng, Ming, Hedayatnia, Behnam, Metallinou, Angeliki, Goel, Rahul, Yang, Shaohua, Raju, Anirudh
Conversational agents are exploding in popularity. However, much work remains in the area of non goal-oriented conversations, despite significant growth in research interest over recent years. To advance the state of the art in conversational AI, Amazon launched the Alexa Prize, a 2.5-million dollar university competition where sixteen selected university teams built conversational agents to deliver the best social conversational experience. Alexa Prize provided the academic community with the unique opportunity to perform research with a live system used by millions of users. The subjectivity associated with evaluating conversations is key element underlying the challenge of building non-goal oriented dialogue systems. In this paper, we propose a comprehensive evaluation strategy with multiple metrics designed to reduce subjectivity by selecting metrics which correlate well with human judgement. The proposed metrics provide granular analysis of the conversational agents, which is not captured in human ratings. We show that these metrics can be used as a reasonable proxy for human judgment. We provide a mechanism to unify the metrics for selecting the top performing agents, which has also been applied throughout the Alexa Prize competition. To our knowledge, to date it is the largest setting for evaluating agents with millions of conversations and hundreds of thousands of ratings from users. We believe that this work is a step towards an automatic evaluation process for conversational AIs.