Alexa Prize 3

AI changes the world

We all know that today's world is entirely in the hands of digital technology. We can not live a day without modern devices and gadgets, inside of which state-of-art technologies are hidden. And every year technological progress is taking off, and the dialogue assistants are starting to break into our life. They are already making our everyday life easier. And what will happen next?

On the one hand, the technologies in the field of AI seem simple and quite real. On the other hand, it is a whole world that opens up to us from a new side and represents a number of tasks with complex architecture. Let's start with the fact that there are three main types of dialogue systems: 

  • General; 
  • task-oriented; 
  • chit-chat (dialogue platforms or " chatters"). 

General bots - have a simple model without a clear goal. They are based on the rules and just answer the requests of the user, most often following the pattern. Task-oriented has a specific script that users follow. The script can be entered manually, sticking to the simple rules. Chit-chat is more difficult to implement, as its main goal is to keep the user's attention as long as possible. In that case, the dialogue should be interesting, unusual and conscious. It is known that all the above mentioned types of dialogue assistants (chatbots) are easily integrated into websites, messaging platforms, and devices. 

Today we would like to tell you more about the smart speaker with voice assistant Alexa from Amazon. Recently, we (our DT team) became participants of the Alexa Prize Social bot Grand Challenge 3. As part of the competition, we are making the social bot. It's a much smarter system compared to a simple chit-chat. In return, the conversation should be deliberate, engaging and cover the entire range of current events and popular topics. Alexa already knows everything that a self-respecting artificial intelligence should be able to. It is necessary to vocalize the activation phrase "Alexa", as it deftly will make a to-do list, voice messages, warn you about bad weather, put music in your mood and this is not the whole list of its features (functions). It remains for us to ensure that it can interact with users for a long period of time. It should know the user better and combine some several conversational skills. Again sounds easy, right?! In fact, the task is not trivial at all. Social bot combines and personalizes several chit-chats. To implement this model we use DeepPavlov Agent, that is designed for a combination of skills, and has a memory in which you can store data about the user. For achieving this goal it is necessary to introduce advanced technologies in the field of conversational AI. These include natural language understanding, natural language generation, context modeling, knowledge acquisition, commonsense reasoning, and dialogue planning. However, our team has to consider a number of limitations when developing: the bot should not be clumsy and cause disappointment, talk nonsense and even insult you. That is just a small part of the limitations. But you know we can do it!) As soon as we make our bot, it will be posted in the open access! 

So short and clear we will outline the entire crux of our activities to you! Dear followers, there is a question for you! What topics would you like to talk to Alexa about? About politics? About the fashion industry? May be about cuisine notes? In this way, you would make it easier for us to compile a list of topics. We are waiting for feedback!