Thesis Defense: Toward Widely-Available and Usable Multimodal Conversational Interfaces
Speaker: Alex Gruenstein , MIT CSAIL - Spoken Language Systems GroupContact:
Date: April 27 2009
Time: 3:00PM to 4:00PM
Location: 32-G449 (Stata Center - Patil/Kiva conference room
Host: Stephanie Seneff, MIT CSAIL
Marcia Davidson, 617-253-3049, email@example.comRelevant URL:
Multimodal conversational interfaces, which allow humans to interact with a computer using a combination of spoken natural language and a graphical interface, offer the potential to transform the manner by which humans communicate with computers. While researchers have developed myriad such interfaces, none have made the transition out of the laboratory and into the hands of a significant number of users. This thesis makes progress toward overcoming two intertwined barriers preventing more widespread adoption: availability and usability.
Toward addressing the problem of availability, this thesis introduces a new paradigm for multimodal interface development in which spoken natural language interfaces are deployed via the World Wide Web. Exemplifying this paradigm is City Browser -- the first multimodal conversational interface made publicly available to anyone with a web browser and a microphone. City Browser serves as a proof-of-concept that significant amounts of usage data can be collected in this way, allowing a glimpse of how users interact with such interfaces outside of a laboratory environment.
City Browser, in turn, has served as the primary platform for deploying and evaluating three new strategies aimed at improving usability. The most pressing usability challenge for conversational interfaces is their limited ability to accurately transcribe and understand spoken natural language. The three strategies developed in this thesis -- context-sensitive language modeling, response
confidence scoring, and user behavior shaping -- each attack the problem from a different angle, but they are linked in that each critically integrates information from the conversational context.
Thesis supervisor: Stephanie Seneff
Thesis committee: Randall Davis, Stephanie Seneff, Victor Zue
See other events that are part of
See other events happening in April 2009