Technique to allow AI to learn words in the flow of dialogue developed

A group of researchers at Osaka University has developed a new method for dialogue systems. This new method, lexical acquisition through implicit confirmation, is a method for a computer to acquire the category of an unknown word over multiple dialogues by confirming whether or not its predictions are correct in the flow of conversation.

Many conversation robots, chatbots, and voice assistant apps have appeared in recent years; however, in these systems, computers basically answer questions based on what has been preprogrammed.

There is another method in which a computer learns from humans by asking simple repetitive questions; however, if the computer asks only questions such as "What is xyz?" in order to acquire knowledge, users will lose interest in talking with the computer.

The group led by Professor Komatani developed an implicit confirmation method by which the computer acquires the category of an unknown word during conversation with humans. This method aims for the system to predict the category of an unknown word from user input during conversation, to make implicit confirmation requests to the user, and to have the user respond to these requests. In this way, the system acquires knowledge about words during dialogues.

In this method, the system decides whether the prediction is correct or not by using the user response following each request, its context, by using machine learning techniques. In addition, this system's decision performance improved by taking the classification results gained from dialogues with other users into consideration.

Chatbots in the market speak to anyone in the same manner. However, as dialogue systems become popular in the future, computers will be required to speak by learning from a conversational partner according to the situation.

This group's research results are a new approach towards the realisation of dialogue systems in which a computer can become smarter through conversation with humans and will lead to the development of dialogue systems with the ability to customize responses to the user's situation.