What’s next on conversational AI

Definition time, what’s conversational AI?

It’s related to systems you can interact in a conversational-like manner. It’s the need for humans and computers to interact more naturally. Even though this might look like natural progression of what we will do with our machines, this represents a major shift in computing. So the first step in defining conversational AI is recognize that we are entering a completely new realm. Thus when you see alarming news that your Alexa or Google Home can’t do this or the other, or your chatbot it’s not transforming your company customer service, it’s because consumers are just starting to notice this interfaces, we are all learning how to build for better conversations, and how to interact with this devices. Maybe the problem is how we are labeling the technology, because despite the tremendous progress natural language processing, speech to text transformation and machine learning has made in the past decades, we can not say it’s conversational. It’s misleading. These limitations expose the challenges of natural language understanding. We know where we are know, people are interacting everyday more with smart assistants. China’s Baidu Dueros has reached more than 100 million devices.  

But what’s next? Enter the VentureBeat article:

According to Martin the first thing that has to come next for conversational AI is new tools beyond machine learning. Natural language generation should be the focus of the next set of tools in conversational space.

The second is higher fidelity conversations. This involves wide and deep conversations, personalization and multimodality. This should require tracking state of previous interaction and identification of individuals likes and styles.

Lastly, Martin points out the next challenge is finding the right role for humans in the loop. And i couldn’t agree more to this one, in favor of keeping a human on the loop in the dialog, at least initially. And as a nice comparison he brings Westworld, where there is a narrative department driving the hosts dialogs and personality. When I was asked by Teri for his podcast Alexa in Canada, what I thought is next in voice at Voice Summit I replied that this is the platform for the creatives. Well crafted conversations won’t be drived by programmers but by writers and script writers and those connoisseurs of the human condition.

This is what’s coming in conversational AI: tools for language generation and dialog management systems, higher fidelity conversations and humans in the loop. And who knows maybe Westworld seamless conversations are not that far off.

Thank you for listening, and we’ll talk tomorrow.

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