February 11, 2022


Currently, there is a trend about dialogue systems and conversational user interfaces, but it is important to realize that the idea of creating a conversational computer has been around for a long time. For example, Pieraccini states that the dream of building a machine that could speak, understand speech, and display intelligent behavior can be traced back at least to the early 1700s, while Mayor describes how the Ancient Greeks imagined robots and other forms of artificial life, and even invented real automated machines. Historically there have been five distinct traditions in dialogue systems research involving communities that have largely worked independently of one another. These are:

  • Text-based and Spoken Dialogue Systems

The term dialogue system is generally used to refer to systems developed in research laboratories in universities and industry with the aim of automating text-based and voice-based interactions between machines and human users.

  • Voice User Interfaces

The text-based and spoken dialogue systems from academic and industrial research laboratories, various companies and enterprises were developing systems for commercial deployment to support automated telephone-based customer self-service tasks such as directory assistance, information enquiries, and other routine transactions. These systems became known as Voice User Interfaces (VUI) and are still being used widely to provide automated customer support over the telephone.

  • Chatbots

Chatbots, also known as chatterbots, were created originally as attempts to simulate human conversations. ELIZA is generally viewed as the first chatbot. ELIZA simulates a Rogerian psychotherapist, often in a convincing way, and has inspired many generations of chatbot authors for whom a major motivation is to develop a system that can pass Turing’s Imitation Game. The aim of the Imitation Game is to see if a machine can display intelligent behavior by fooling observers of a conversation between a human and a chatbot into thinking that the utterances from the chatbot were actually from another human participant.

  • Embodied Conversational Agents

An Embodied Conversational Agent (ECA) is a computer-generated animated character that combines facial expression, body stance, hand gestures, and speech to provide a more humanlike and more engaging interaction. An ECA takes the form of virtual agents and screen-based characters.

  • Social Robots and Situated Agents

Social robots are becoming increasingly popular as companions for the elderly, as educational and entertainment toys for children, as self-service aids in public places, and more. Social robots allow users to perform tasks similar to those provided by a virtual personal assistant on a smartphone or smart speaker. Additionally, they are expected to possess social qualities such as the ability to recognize and display emotions, and other humanlike social cues.













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