The Conversational Interface: Talking to Smart Devices

Front Cover
This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the conversational interface, which is becoming the main mode of interaction with virtual personal assistants, smart devices, various types of wearable, and social robots. The book consists of four parts. Part I presents the background to conversational interfaces, examining past and present work on spoken language interaction with computers. Part II covers the various technologies that are required to build a conversational interface along with practical chapters and exercises using open source tools. Part III looks at interactions with smart devices, wearables, and robots, and discusses the role of emotion and personality in the conversational interface. Part IV examines methods for evaluating conversational interfaces and discusses future directions.


1 Introducing the Conversational Interface
2 The Dawn of the Conversational Interface
3 Toward a Technology of Conversation
Past and Present
Part II Developing a SpeechBased Conversational Interface
5 Speech Input and Output
6 Implementing Speech Input and Output
11 Implementing Dialog Management
12 Response Generation
Part III Conversational Interfaces and Devices
Devices Wearables Virtual Agents and Robots
14 Emotion Affect and Personality
15 Affective Conversational Interfaces
16 Implementing Multimodal Conversational Interfaces Using Android Wear
Part IV Evaluation and Future Directions

7 Creating a Conversational Interface Using Chatbot Technology
8 Spoken Language Understanding
9 Implementing Spoken Language Understanding
10 Dialog Management
17 Evaluating the Conversational Interface
18 Future Directions

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About the author (2016)

Michael F. McTear

Michael McTear

Michael McTear is Emeritus Professor at the University of Ulster with a special research interest in spoken language technologies. He graduated in German Language and Literature from Queens University Belfast in 1965, was awarded MA in Linguistics at University of Essex in 1975, and a PhD at the University of Ulster in 1981. He has been Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii (1986-87), the University of Koblenz, Germany (1994-95), and University of Granada, Spain (2006- 2010). He has been researching in the field of spoken dialogue systems for more than fifteen years and is the author of the widely used textbook Spoken dialogue technology: toward the conversational user interface (Springer, 2004). He also is a co-author (with Kristiina Jokinen) of the book Spoken Dialogue Systems, (Morgan and Claypool, 2010), and (with Zoraida Callejas) of the book Voice Application Development for Android (Packt Publishing, 2013).

Zoraida Callejas

Zoraida Callejas is Associate Professor at the University of Granada, Spain, and member of the CITIC-UGR Research Institute. She graduated in Computer Science in 2005, and was awarded a PhD in 2008, also at the University of Granada. Her research is focused on dialogue systems, especially on affective human-machine conversational interaction, and she has made more than 160 contributions to books, journals and conferences. She has participated in several research projects related to these topics and contributes to scientific committees and societies in the area. She has been Visiting Professor at the Technical University of Liberec, Czech Republic (2007-13), University of Trento, Italy (2008), University of Ulster, Northern Ireland (2009), Technical University of Berlin, Germany (2010), University of Ulm, Germany (2012, 2014) and ParisTech, France (2013). She is co-author (with Michael McTear) of the book Voice Application Development for Android (Packt Publishing, 2013).

David Griol

David Griol is Professor at the Department of Computer Science in the Carlos III University of Madrid (Spain). He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the Technical University of Valencia (Spain) in 2007. He also has a B.S. in Telecommunication Science from this University. He has participated in several European and Spanish projects related to natural language processing and conversational interfaces. His main research activities are mostly related to the study of statistical methodologies for dialog management, dialog simulation, user modeling, adaptation and evaluation of dialog systems, mobile technologies, and multimodal interfaces. His research results have been applied to several application domains including Education, Healthcare, Virtual Environments, Augmented Reality, Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments, and he has published in a number of international journals and conferences. He has been a visiting researcher at the University of Ulster (Belfast, UK), Technical University of Liberec (Liberec, Czech Republic), University of Trento (Trento, Italy), Technical University of Berlin (Berlin, Germany), and ParisTech University (Paris, France). He is a member of several research associations for Artificial Intelligence, Speech Processing, and Human-Computer Interaction.