A generic dialog box for multilingual conversational applications
D-Box is a now completed three year long European research project funded by the Eureka Eurostars program. Its main goal is to develop and test an innovative architecture for conversational agents whose purpose is to support multilingual collaboration between users on a common problem in an interactive application.
The interactive agent enables type-written and/or spoken collaboration in the users’ native language by mediating communication: all user interactions are transmitted through the D-Box multilingual agent which (1) manages and supports dialogic interactions based on its understanding of the users’ shared goals, and (2) processes, extracts, and transfers knowledge among users. The agent has no translation capabilities, but instead has access to rich linguistic resources in multiple languages and domain- and application-specific knowledge bases.
The agent is developed and tested in the context of a well-defined application scenario. To guarantee the focus of the project around a common R&D and evaluation environment, while also providing fun and motivation for potential users, we decided to focus here on networked multi-user games in which the collaboration is on solving puzzles embedded in the games’ storyline.
The first application is a quiz game in which the user is to guess a famous celebrity by asking the agent up to 10 open-ended questions. The agent is able to analyze what the question is about and extract relevant facts from its internal knowledge base. The reply is then verbalized in spoken and written English.
The second application is an adventure game scenario. Embedded in an engaging narrative, the story of the game revolves around two players collaborating with each others indirectly through the agent. The setting for this adventure game is a science-fiction scenario, in which the players find themselves on a space station immediately after some major accident occurred there. A demo video of the final prototype can be found on top of this page.
However, the applicability of the system is not restricted to gaming scenarios and lays ground work for real-life applications, one example being home automation systems for shared living spaces cohabited by people speaking different languages. Precisely this scenario was also the basis for a proof of concept implementation of a home automation system within the project.