With recent progress in deep learning, there has been an increased interest in learning dialogue systems from data, also known as “Conversational AI”. In this talk, I will focus on the task of response generation, for which I will highlight lessons learnt and ongoing challenges, including reducing ‘hallucinations’ for task-based systems, safety critical issues for open-domain chatbots, and the often-overlooked problem of ‘good’ persona design. I will argue that we will need to solve these challenges to create trusted, safe and bias-free systems for end-user applications.
Verena leads research on Conversational AI at the intersection of Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning. She is a full professor in Computer Science at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, co-founder of ALANA AI, and Director of Ethics at the UK National Center for Robotics. Verena received her PhD in 2008 from Saarland University (Germany) and then joined the University of Edinburgh as a postdoctoral research fellow, before taking up a faculty position at Heriot-Watt in 2011 and joining ALANA AI in 2020. She is the PI of several funded research projects and industry awards. Her team is a double prize winner of the Amazon Alexa Prize challenge, and they currently compete as a sponsored entry to the Amazon SimBot challenge. Verena was recently awarded a Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship by the Royal Society in recognition of her work in developing multimodal conversational systems.
*** The talk will be given online via Zoom. For details how to join the Zoom meeting, please write to sevcikova et ufal.mff.cuni.cz ***