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Monday, May 31, 2021

Results in Taskbot Challenge

Instructive piece on the competitive challenge.     Like the idea. Would be interesting to track any of the contributions to actual public applications.  Nice to see one of my universities was a winner.  Will try to look at some of the entries/results for a later piece.

Amazon Picks Alexa TaskBot Challenge Finalists  in Voicebot.ai

ERIC HAL SCHWARTZ   By Eric Hal Schwartz

Amazon has chosen the 10 finalists for the Alexa Prize TaskBot Challenge https://voicebot.ai/2021/03/11/amazon-starts-new-alexa-prize-taskbot-challenge/  the newest contest run by the voice assistant developer. The chosen teams are based in universities in the U.S., Europe and Asia, each with a voice app designed to handle multi-step, complex tasks conceived in a conversation with a user.


Each team’s entry is supposed to be able to perform as an aide for carrying out cooking and home construction and repair projects. The idea is to develop an AI that goes beyond the limited, single task per order system most voice assistants use. A TaskBot is supposed to extend the conversation and gain enough information from a user to complete a longer, more varied project. In this case, those tasks relate to home improvement and cooking. Both are good examples of sometimes long lists of tasks hidden in a brief request like “cook a meal” or “repair a chair.” The challenge is also multi-modal, so the teams will need visual components to go with the voice app.

“Alexa already assists millions of customers in goal-directed interactions, such as ‘Alexa, play ‘Your Power’ by Billie Eilish’, or ‘Alexa, what’s the weather forecast for the weekend? With this new Alexa Prize challenge, we are now turning to multi-step and multi-modal task completion that can span hours if not days,” Alexa Shopping vice president of research and science Yoelle Maarek said in a statement. “I am delighted to see that so many quality university teams have expressed interest in addressing this hard AI challenge. This is a wonderful example of our customer-obsessed science approach where we join forces with academia to push the boundaries of science with the goal of delighting our customers.”

The 10 winning teams are from: Carnegie Mellon University, National Taiwan University (NTU), NOVA School of Science and Technology (Portugal), Ohio State University, Texas A&M University, University College London, University of California Santa Barbara, University of Glasgow, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), and the University of Pennsylvania.  ...  

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