GVU Center Distinguished Lecture:
Conversational AI: Voice Based Intelligent Agents
As we move from the dominance of the keyboard, to that of touch screens, and now to the age of voice interaction using technology, natural conversation in everyday language continues to be one of the ultimate challenges for AI. This is a difficult scientific problem involving knowledge acquisition, natural language understanding, natural language generation, context modeling, commonsense reasoning and dialog planning, as well as a complex product design problem involving user experience and conversational engagement.
I will talk about why Conversational AI is hard, how conversational agents like Amazon Alexa understand and respond to voice interactions, how you can leverage these technologies for your own applications, and the challenges that still remain.
Dr. Ashwin Ram is Senior Manager of AI Science for Alexa, the intelligent agent that powers Amazon Echo and other devices. He leads R&D initiatives to create advanced technologies for conversational agents, including the university-facing Alexa Prize competition.
Dr. Ram is a distinguished artificial intelligence (AI) researcher and entrepreneur. He managed the Interactive Intelligence research area at PARC, leading a team to invent new behavior change technologies to help people adopt healthier lifestyles. He was a professor in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech and director of the Cognitive Computing Lab, and is now an adjunct professor there. He has co-founded multiple startups, including OpenStudy (acquired by Brainly), an online social learning network, and Enkia (acquired by Sentiment360), which developed AI software for social media applications. He received his PhD from Yale University in 1989, his MS from University of Illinois in 1984, and his BTech from IIT Delhi in 1982. He has published 2 books and over 100 scientific articles in international forums.
He is a closet anthropologist and loves travel, people and culture.