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Conversational Agents: Theory and Applications

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In this chapter, we provide a review of conversational agents (CAs), discussing chatbots, intended for casual conversation with a user, as well as task-oriented agents that generally engage in discussions intended to reach one or several specific goals, often (but not always) within a specific domain. We also consider the concept of embodied conversational agents, briefly reviewing aspects such as character animation and speech processing. The many different approaches for representing dialogue in CAs are discussed in some detail, along with methods for evaluating such agents, emphasizing the important topics of accountability and interpretability. A brief historical overview is given, followed by an extensive overview of various applications, especially in the fields of health and education. We end the chapter by discussing benefits and potential risks regarding the societal impact of current and future CA technology.


Prospective Learning: Back to the Future

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Research on both natural intelligence (NI) and artificial intelligence (AI) generally assumes that the future resembles the past: intelligent agents or systems (what we call 'intelligence') observe and act on the world, then use this experience to act on future experiences of the same kind. We call this 'retrospective learning'. For example, an intelligence may see a set of pictures of objects, along with their names, and learn to name them. A retrospective learning intelligence would merely be able to name more pictures of the same objects. We argue that this is not what true intelligence is about. In many real world problems, both NIs and AIs will have to learn for an uncertain future. Both must update their internal models to be useful for future tasks, such as naming fundamentally new objects and using these objects effectively in a new context or to achieve previously unencountered goals. This ability to learn for the future we call 'prospective learning'. We articulate four relevant factors that jointly define prospective learning. Continual learning enables intelligences to remember those aspects of the past which it believes will be most useful in the future. Prospective constraints (including biases and priors) facilitate the intelligence finding general solutions that will be applicable to future problems. Curiosity motivates taking actions that inform future decision making, including in previously unmet situations. Causal estimation enables learning the structure of relations that guide choosing actions for specific outcomes, even when the specific action-outcome contingencies have never been observed before. We argue that a paradigm shift from retrospective to prospective learning will enable the communities that study intelligence to unite and overcome existing bottlenecks to more effectively explain, augment, and engineer intelligences.


A Survey of Opponent Modeling in Adversarial Domains

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Opponent modeling is the ability to use prior knowledge and observations in order to predict the behavior of an opponent. This survey presents a comprehensive overview of existing opponent modeling techniques for adversarial domains, many of which must address stochastic, continuous, or concurrent actions, and sparse, partially observable payoff structures. We discuss all the components of opponent modeling systems, including feature extraction, learning algorithms, and strategy abstractions. These discussions lead us to propose a new form of analysis for describing and predicting the evolution of game states over time. We then introduce a new framework that facilitates method comparison, analyze a representative selection of techniques using the proposed framework, and highlight common trends among recently proposed methods. Finally, we list several open problems and discuss future research directions inspired by AI research on opponent modeling and related research in other disciplines.


Challenges of Artificial Intelligence -- From Machine Learning and Computer Vision to Emotional Intelligence

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a part of everyday conversation and our lives. It is considered as the new electricity that is revolutionizing the world. AI is heavily invested in both industry and academy. However, there is also a lot of hype in the current AI debate. AI based on so-called deep learning has achieved impressive results in many problems, but its limits are already visible. AI has been under research since the 1940s, and the industry has seen many ups and downs due to over-expectations and related disappointments that have followed. The purpose of this book is to give a realistic picture of AI, its history, its potential and limitations. We believe that AI is a helper, not a ruler of humans. We begin by describing what AI is and how it has evolved over the decades. After fundamentals, we explain the importance of massive data for the current mainstream of artificial intelligence. The most common representations for AI, methods, and machine learning are covered. In addition, the main application areas are introduced. Computer vision has been central to the development of AI. The book provides a general introduction to computer vision, and includes an exposure to the results and applications of our own research. Emotions are central to human intelligence, but little use has been made in AI. We present the basics of emotional intelligence and our own research on the topic. We discuss super-intelligence that transcends human understanding, explaining why such achievement seems impossible on the basis of present knowledge,and how AI could be improved. Finally, a summary is made of the current state of AI and what to do in the future. In the appendix, we look at the development of AI education, especially from the perspective of contents at our own university.


Forecasting: theory and practice

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Forecasting has always been at the forefront of decision making and planning. The uncertainty that surrounds the future is both exciting and challenging, with individuals and organisations seeking to minimise risks and maximise utilities. The large number of forecasting applications calls for a diverse set of forecasting methods to tackle real-life challenges. This article provides a non-systematic review of the theory and the practice of forecasting. We provide an overview of a wide range of theoretical, state-of-the-art models, methods, principles, and approaches to prepare, produce, organise, and evaluate forecasts. We then demonstrate how such theoretical concepts are applied in a variety of real-life contexts. We do not claim that this review is an exhaustive list of methods and applications. However, we wish that our encyclopedic presentation will offer a point of reference for the rich work that has been undertaken over the last decades, with some key insights for the future of forecasting theory and practice. Given its encyclopedic nature, the intended mode of reading is non-linear. We offer cross-references to allow the readers to navigate through the various topics. We complement the theoretical concepts and applications covered by large lists of free or open-source software implementations and publicly-available databases.


Deep Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Deep reinforcement learning has gathered much attention recently. Impressive results were achieved in activities as diverse as autonomous driving, game playing, molecular recombination, and robotics. In all these fields, computer programs have taught themselves to solve difficult problems. They have learned to fly model helicopters and perform aerobatic manoeuvers such as loops and rolls. In some applications they have even become better than the best humans, such as in Atari, Go, poker and StarCraft. The way in which deep reinforcement learning explores complex environments reminds us of how children learn, by playfully trying out things, getting feedback, and trying again. The computer seems to truly possess aspects of human learning; this goes to the heart of the dream of artificial intelligence. The successes in research have not gone unnoticed by educators, and universities have started to offer courses on the subject. The aim of this book is to provide a comprehensive overview of the field of deep reinforcement learning. The book is written for graduate students of artificial intelligence, and for researchers and practitioners who wish to better understand deep reinforcement learning methods and their challenges. We assume an undergraduate-level of understanding of computer science and artificial intelligence; the programming language of this book is Python. We describe the foundations, the algorithms and the applications of deep reinforcement learning. We cover the established model-free and model-based methods that form the basis of the field. Developments go quickly, and we also cover advanced topics: deep multi-agent reinforcement learning, deep hierarchical reinforcement learning, and deep meta learning.


Artificial Intellgence -- Application in Life Sciences and Beyond. The Upper Rhine Artificial Intelligence Symposium UR-AI 2021

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The TriRhenaTech alliance presents the accepted papers of the 'Upper-Rhine Artificial Intelligence Symposium' held on October 27th 2021 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Topics of the conference are applications of Artificial Intellgence in life sciences, intelligent systems, industry 4.0, mobility and others. The TriRhenaTech alliance is a network of universities in the Upper-Rhine Trinational Metropolitan Region comprising of the German universities of applied sciences in Furtwangen, Kaiserslautern, Karlsruhe, Offenburg and Trier, the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University Loerrach, the French university network Alsace Tech (comprised of 14 'grandes \'ecoles' in the fields of engineering, architecture and management) and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland. The alliance's common goal is to reinforce the transfer of knowledge, research, and technology, as well as the cross-border mobility of students.


A Review of Dialogue Systems: From Trained Monkeys to Stochastic Parrots

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In spoken dialogue systems, we aim to deploy artificial intelligence to build automated dialogue agents that can converse with humans. Dialogue systems are increasingly being designed to move beyond just imitating conversation and also improve from such interactions over time. In this survey, we present a broad overview of methods developed to build dialogue systems over the years. Different use cases for dialogue systems ranging from task-based systems to open domain chatbots motivate and necessitate specific systems. Starting from simple rule-based systems, research has progressed towards increasingly complex architectures trained on a massive corpus of datasets, like deep learning systems. Motivated with the intuition of resembling human dialogues, progress has been made towards incorporating emotions into the natural language generator, using reinforcement learning. While we see a trend of highly marginal improvement on some metrics, we find that limited justification exists for the metrics, and evaluation practices are not uniform. To conclude, we flag these concerns and highlight possible research directions.


Deep Reinforcement Learning Versus Evolution Strategies: A Comparative Survey

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) and Evolution Strategies (ESs) have surpassed human-level control in many sequential decision-making problems, yet many open challenges still exist. To get insights into the strengths and weaknesses of DRL versus ESs, an analysis of their respective capabilities and limitations is provided. After presenting their fundamental concepts and algorithms, a comparison is provided on key aspects such as scalability, exploration, adaptation to dynamic environments, and multi-agent learning. Then, the benefits of hybrid algorithms that combine concepts from DRL and ESs are highlighted. Finally, to have an indication about how they compare in real-world applications, a survey of the literature for the set of applications they support is provided.


A brief history of AI: how to prevent another winter (a critical review)

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The field of artificial intelligence (AI), regarded as one of the most enigmatic areas of science, has witnessed exponential growth in the past decade including a remarkably wide array of applications, having already impacted our everyday lives. Advances in computing power and the design of sophisticated AI algorithms have enabled computers to outperform humans in a variety of tasks, especially in the areas of computer vision and speech recognition. Yet, AI's path has never been smooth, having essentially fallen apart twice in its lifetime ('winters' of AI), both after periods of popular success ('summers' of AI). We provide a brief rundown of AI's evolution over the course of decades, highlighting its crucial moments and major turning points from inception to the present. In doing so, we attempt to learn, anticipate the future, and discuss what steps may be taken to prevent another 'winter'.