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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.


Meta claims its AI improves speech recognition quality by reading lips

#artificialintelligence

People perceive speech both by listening to it and watching the lip movements of speakers. In fact, studies show that visual cues play a key role in language learning. By contrast, AI speech recognition systems are built mostly -- or entirely -- on audio. And they require a substantial amount of data to train, typically ranging in the tens of thousands of hours of recordings. To investigate whether visuals -- specifically footage of mouth movement -- can improve the performance of speech recognition systems, researchers at Meta (formerly Facebook) developed Audio-Visual Hidden Unit BERT (AV-HuBERT), a framework that learns to understand speech by both watching and hearing people speak.


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.


MEDCOD: A Medically-Accurate, Emotive, Diverse, and Controllable Dialog System

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

We present MEDCOD, a Medically-Accurate, Emotive, Diverse, and Controllable Dialog system with a unique approach to the natural language generator module. MEDCOD has been developed and evaluated specifically for the history taking task. It integrates the advantage of a traditional modular approach to incorporate (medical) domain knowledge with modern deep learning techniques to generate flexible, human-like natural language expressions. Two key aspects of MEDCOD's natural language output are described in detail. First, the generated sentences are emotive and empathetic, similar to how a doctor would communicate to the patient. Second, the generated sentence structures and phrasings are varied and diverse while maintaining medical consistency with the desired medical concept (provided by the dialogue manager module of MEDCOD). Experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach in creating a human-like medical dialogue system. Relevant code is available at https://github.com/curai/curai-research/tree/main/MEDCOD


Measuring Cognitive Status from Speech in a Smart Home Environment

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The population is aging, and becoming more tech-savvy. The United Nations predicts that by 2050, one in six people in the world will be over age 65 (up from one in 11 in 2019), and this increases to one in four in Europe and Northern America. Meanwhile, the proportion of American adults over 65 who own a smartphone has risen 24 percentage points from 2013-2017, and the majority have Internet in their homes. Smart devices and smart home technology have profound potential to transform how people age, their ability to live independently in later years, and their interactions with their circle of care. Cognitive health is a key component to independence and well-being in old age, and smart homes present many opportunities to measure cognitive status in a continuous, unobtrusive manner. In this article, we focus on speech as a measurement instrument for cognitive health. Existing methods of cognitive assessment suffer from a number of limitations that could be addressed through smart home speech sensing technologies. We begin with a brief tutorial on measuring cognitive status from speech, including some pointers to useful open-source software toolboxes for the interested reader. We then present an overview of the preliminary results from pilot studies on active and passive smart home speech sensing for the measurement of cognitive health, and conclude with some recommendations and challenge statements for the next wave of work in this area, to help overcome both technical and ethical barriers to success.


Dive into Deep Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Just a few years ago, there were no legions of deep learning scientists developing intelligent products and services at major companies and startups. When the youngest among us (the authors) entered the field, machine learning did not command headlines in daily newspapers. Our parents had no idea what machine learning was, let alone why we might prefer it to a career in medicine or law. Machine learning was a forward-looking academic discipline with a narrow set of real-world applications. And those applications, e.g., speech recognition and computer vision, required so much domain knowledge that they were often regarded as separate areas entirely for which machine learning was one small component. Neural networks then, the antecedents of the deep learning models that we focus on in this book, were regarded as outmoded tools. In just the past five years, deep learning has taken the world by surprise, driving rapid progress in fields as diverse as computer vision, natural language processing, automatic speech recognition, reinforcement learning, and statistical modeling. With these advances in hand, we can now build cars that drive themselves with more autonomy than ever before (and less autonomy than some companies might have you believe), smart reply systems that automatically draft the most mundane emails, helping people dig out from oppressively large inboxes, and software agents that dominate the worldʼs best humans at board games like Go, a feat once thought to be decades away. Already, these tools exert ever-wider impacts on industry and society, changing the way movies are made, diseases are diagnosed, and playing a growing role in basic sciences--from astrophysics to biology.


The AI Index 2021 Annual Report

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Welcome to the fourth edition of the AI Index Report. This year we significantly expanded the amount of data available in the report, worked with a broader set of external organizations to calibrate our data, and deepened our connections with the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI). The AI Index Report tracks, collates, distills, and visualizes data related to artificial intelligence. Its mission is to provide unbiased, rigorously vetted, and globally sourced data for policymakers, researchers, executives, journalists, and the general public to develop intuitions about the complex field of AI. The report aims to be the most credible and authoritative source for data and insights about AI in the world.


Report from the NSF Future Directions Workshop, Toward User-Oriented Agents: Research Directions and Challenges

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

This USER Workshop was convened with the goal of defining future research directions for the burgeoning intelligent agent research community and to communicate them to the National Science Foundation. It took place in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania on October 24 and 25, 2019 and was sponsored by National Science Foundation Grant Number IIS-1934222. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or future directions expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The 27 participants presented their individual research interests and their personal research goals. In the breakout sessions that followed, the participants defined the main research areas within the domain of intelligent agents and they discussed the major future directions that the research in each area of this domain should take.


When to Intervene: Detecting Abnormal Mood using Everyday Smartphone Conversations

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Bipolar disorder (BPD) is a chronic mental illness characterized by extreme mood and energy changes from mania to depression. These changes drive behaviors that often lead to devastating personal or social consequences. BPD is managed clinically with regular interactions with care providers, who assess mood, energy levels, and the form and content of speech. Recent work has proposed smartphones for monitoring mood using speech. However, these works do not predict when to intervene. Predicting when to intervene is challenging because there is not a single measure that is relevant for every person: different individuals may have different levels of symptom severity considered typical. Additionally, this typical mood, or baseline, may change over time, making a single symptom threshold insufficient. This work presents an innovative approach that expands clinical mood monitoring to predict when interventions are necessary using an anomaly detection framework, which we call Temporal Normalization. We first validate the model using a dataset annotated for clinical interventions and then incorporate this method in a deep learning framework to predict mood anomalies from natural, unstructured, telephone speech data. The combination of these approaches provides a framework to enable real-world speech-focused mood monitoring.


A 20-Year Community Roadmap for Artificial Intelligence Research in the US

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Decades of research in artificial intelligence (AI) have produced formidable technologies that are providing immense benefit to industry, government, and society. AI systems can now translate across multiple languages, identify objects in images and video, streamline manufacturing processes, and control cars. The deployment of AI systems has not only created a trillion-dollar industry that is projected to quadruple in three years, but has also exposed the need to make AI systems fair, explainable, trustworthy, and secure. Future AI systems will rightfully be expected to reason effectively about the world in which they (and people) operate, handling complex tasks and responsibilities effectively and ethically, engaging in meaningful communication, and improving their awareness through experience. Achieving the full potential of AI technologies poses research challenges that require a radical transformation of the AI research enterprise, facilitated by significant and sustained investment. These are the major recommendations of a recent community effort coordinated by the Computing Community Consortium and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence to formulate a Roadmap for AI research and development over the next two decades.