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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Alexa Prize Primary Tools

Sciences used in the Socialbot Grand Challenge.

AI Tools Let Alexa Prize Participants Focus on Science   By Anu Venkatesh

March 4 marks the kickoff of the third Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge, in which university teams build socialbots capable of conversing on a wide range of topics and make them available to millions of Alexa customers through the invitation “Alexa, let’s chat”. Student teams can begin applying to the competition on March 4, and in the subsequent six weeks, the Alexa Prize team will make a series of roadshow appearances at tech hubs in the U.S. and Europe to meet with students and answer questions about the program.

As we gear up for the third Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge, the Alexa science blog is reviewing some of the technical accomplishments from the second, which were reported in a paper released in late 2018. This post examines contributions by Amazon’s Alexa Prize team; a second post will examine innovations from the participating university teams.

To ensure that Alexa Prize contestants can concentrate on dialogue systems — the core technology of socialbots — Amazon scientists and engineers built a set of machine learning modules that handle fundamental conversational tasks and a development environment that lets contestants easily mix and match existing modules with those of their own design.

The Amazon team provided contestants with five primary tools:

An automatic-speech-recognition system, tailored to the broader vocabulary of “open-domain” conversations;

Contextual topic and dialogue act models, which identify topics of conversation and types of utterance, such as requests for information, clarifications, and instructions;
A sensitive-content detector;

A conversation evaluator model, which estimates how coherent and engaging responses generated by the contestants’ dialogue systems are; and  CoBot, a development environment that integrates tools from the Alexa Skills Kit, services from Amazon Web Services, and the Alexa Prize team’s models and automatically handles socialbot deployment. .... "

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