Workshop on Conversation Agents at the Mixed Reality Lab

Last week, I visited the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham. The workshop was hosted by Stuart Reeves, Joel Fischer, and Martin Porcheron, and focused on conversational agents (e.g. Amazon’s Alexa); the biggest take home being that we don’t really have conversations with these devices, and their design does not allow for repairs when communication break-downs. Another interesting discussion was about the language that we use to describe and classify these agents. So many terms are used! We need a taxonomy – a structured system for describing the qualities and functions of “conversational” agents for now and for the future as the technology evolves – watch this space…