Monday, April 02, 2018
12:00 PM
1400 Wegmans Hall
Ting-Hao (Kenneth) Huang
Carnegie Mellon University
A Crowd-Powered Conversational Assistant That Automates Itself Over Time
Interaction in rich natural language enables people to exchange thoughts efficiently and come to a shared understanding quickly. Modern personal intelligent assistants such as Appleís Siri and Amazonís Echo all utilize conversational interfaces as their primary communication channels, and illustrate a future that in which getting help from a computer is as easy as asking a friend. However, modern conversational assistants are still limited in domain, expressiveness, and robustness. We take an alternative approach that blends real-time human computation with artificial intelligence to reliably engage in conversations. Instead of bootstrapping automation from the bottom up with only automatic components, we start with our crowd-powered conversational assistant, Chorus, and create a framework that enables Chorus to automate itself over time. Over time, the automated systems will take over more responsibility in Chorus, not only helping us to deploy robust conversational assistants before we know how to automate everything, but also allowing us to drive down costs and gradually reduce reliance on the crowd.

Bio: Ting-Hao (Kenneth) Huang is a Yahoo!/Oath Fellow and Ph.D. candidate in Language Technologies Institute, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU.) His research focuses on crowdsourcing and conversational agents, under the broader umbrella of human-in-the-loop architectures. As a part of his PhD work with Prof. Jeffrey P. Bigham at CMU, Kenneth deployed Chorus (, the first chatbot that is powered by the real-time crowd and artificial intelligence. In 2018, he won an Honourable Mention Award at CHIí18 for creating Evorus, a framework that automates Chorus over time. Kenneth is also known for developing the Visual Storytelling Dataset (VIST) as a summer intern at Microsoft Research in 2015. Prior to his PhD, Kenneth worked on natural language processing during his studies at CMU (M.S. in Computer Science) and National Taiwan University (M.S. and B.S. in Computer Science, B.A. in Chinese Literature.)