This talk is part of the NLP Seminar Series. Unfortunately, this week's talk is not open to the public.

Past, Present, Future of Conversational AI

Gokhan Tur, Alexa AI
Date: 10:00am - 11:00am PT, Nov 19 2020
Venue: Zoom (link hidden)


Recent advances in deep learning based methods for language processing, especially using self-supervised learning methods resulted in new excitement towards building more sophisticated Conversational AI systems. While this is partially true for social chatbots or retrieval based applications, the underlying skeleton of the goal oriented systems has remained unchanged: Still most language understanding models rely on supervised methods with manually annotated datasets even though the resulting performances are significantly better with much less data. In this talk I will cover two directions we are exploring to break from this: The first approach is aiming to incorporate multimodal information for better understanding and semantic grounding. The second part introduces an interactive self-supervision method to gather immediate actionable user feedback converting frictional moments into learning opportunities for interactive learning.


Gokhan Tur is a leading artificial intelligence expert, especially on human/machine conversational language understanding systems. He co-authored about 200 papers published in journals or books and presented at conferences. He is the editor of the book entitled "Spoken Language Understanding" by Wiley in 2011. Between 1997 and 1999, he was a visiting scholar at the CMU LTI, then the Johns Hopkins University, and the Speech Lab of SRI, CA. At AT&T Research (formerly Bell Labs), NJ (2001-2006) he worked on pioneering conversational systems like "How May I Help You?". He worked for the DARPA GALE and CALO projects at SRI, CA (2006-2010). Gokhan was a founding member of the Microsoft Cortana team, and later the Conversational Systems Lab at Microsoft Research (2010-2016). He worked as the Conversational Understanding Architect at Apple Siri team (2014-2015) and as the Deep Conversational Understanding TLM at Google Research (2016-2018). He was a founding area director at Uber AI (2018-2020). Gokhan is currently with Amazon Alexa AI. He is the organizer of the HLT-NAACL 2007 Workshop on Spoken Dialog Technologies, and the HLT-NAACL 2004 and AAAI 2005 Workshops on SLU, and the editor of the Speech Communication Issue on SLU in 2006. Dr. Tur is also the recipient of the Speech Communication Journal Best Paper awards by ISCA for 2004-2006 and by EURASIP for 2005-2006. He is also the spoken language processing area chair for IEEE ICASSP 2007, 2008, and 2009 conferences and IEEE ASRU 2005 workshop, spoken dialog area chair for HLT-NAACL 2007 conference, and organizer of SLT 2010 workshop. Gokhan is a Fellow of IEEE, and member of ACL and ISCA. He was a member of IEEE Speech and Language Technical Committee (SLTC) (2006-2008), member of the IEEE SPS Industrial Relations Committee (2013-2014) and an associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing (2010-2014), and Multimedia Processing (2014-2016) journals.