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OFAI-TR-2011-12

Talking with affective dialog systems: Extending the analysis of affect in online communication

Marcin Skowron

Recent advances in computer technology extend the capacities of autonomous systems to detect and categorise the textual expressions of affective states. On the one hand, this enables large‐scale studies of the role of affect in the ICT mediated communication processes. On the other hand, it supports the development of interactive systems that can sense and take into account information on the users' sentiment to manage the communication flow. In our talk, we introduce affective dialog systems and autonomous interactive bots that provide supplemental means for analysing the role of affect in synchronous online communication. In particular, such systems enable direct querying of users about their sentiments and affective states towards a set of entities, events and processes and for conducting the follow‐up, task‐oriented dialogs to gain additional insights, e.g., on the users' background, motivations and expectations. The themes that are used by the system are provided manually or acquired from the online news feeds, e.g., Reuters News. We describe how “hot topics” can be automatically detected and incorporated in the dialog, to acquire information on users' affective responses to topics of interest. The presented systems are deployable in various interaction settings, e.g., virtual online worlds, providing an access to user groups that are often not actively engaged in discussions in the other, online communication channels such as blogs and newsgroups. In this talk we present the insights from experiments on the system‐users interactions, conducted in 3D virtual reality settings, in which the affective dialog system managed the verbal aspects of a virtual human communication. The system performance, in terms of its capability to: i.) generate a realistic dialog, ii.) provide an enjoyable experience for the users and iii.) establish an emotional connection with the experiment participants, matched the results obtained in the Wizard‐of‐Oz settings, i.e., unseen human operator who controls the conversation of a virtual character.

Keywords: dialog system, affective computing, HCI, Publications List Interact

Citation: Skowron M.: Talking with affective dialog systems: Extending the analysis of affect in online communication. Technical Report, Österreichisches Forschungsinstitut für Artificial Intelligence, Wien, TR-2011-12, 2011