HRI: Collaborative Proposal: Incremental Wizard Ablation: A Novel WOz Paradigm for Learning, Testing and Evaluating Human-Machine Dialog Strategies from Parameterized Corpora

Project: Research project

Project Details


Automated telephone dialog systems rely disproportionately on accurate transcription of the speech signal into readable text. When the system has low confidence in the automatic speech transcription

(ASR) of a caller's utterance, a typical dialog strategy requires the system to repeat its best guess, and ask for confirmation. This leads to unnatural interactions and dissatisfied callers. The current project focuses on developing better dialog strategies given current ASR capabilities by learning automatically from contrasting

corpora, and comparing the results. Using a novel methodology, wizard ablation, simulated human-system dialogs are collected that vary in controlled ways. The testbed application, an Automated Readers Advisor for New York City's Andrew Heiskell Talking Book and Braille Library, has appropriately limited complexity, and

potentially broad social benefit.

The motivation for wizard ablation is that research is needed into the problem-solving strategies humans would use if the human communication channel were restricted to be more like a machine's. In conventional wizard-of-oz studies, unsuspecting users interact with human wizards 'behind-the-screen', thus providing data on the way humans interact with (what they believe to be) machines. Unlike a conventional wizard, an ablated wizard is restricted to seeing the ASR input to the system dialog manager. Under a further ablation

condition, the wizard must choose actions from the repertoire that the system uses, but can combine them freely. The book-borrowing scenarios for the wizard interactions have been designed to be realistic, and Heiskell Library patrons participate in the studies. The collected dialogs will be made available to the community.

Effective start/end date10/1/078/31/12


  • National Science Foundation: $599,808.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.