Making Personal Digital Assistants Aware of What They Do Not Know

Omar Zia Khan, Ruhi Sarikaya

Personal digital assistants (PDAs) are spoken (and typed) dialog systems that are expected to assist users without being constrained to a particular domain. Typically, it is possible to construct deep multi-domain dialog systems focused on a narrow set of head domains. For the long tail (or when the speech recognition is not correct) the PDA does not know what to do. Two common fallback approaches are to either acknowledge its limitation or show web search results. Either approach can severely undermine the user’s trust in the PDA’s intelligence if invoked at the wrong time. In this paper, we propose features that are helpful in predicting the right fallback response. We then use these features to construct dialog policies such that the PDA is able to correctly decide between invoking web search or acknowledging its limitation. We evaluate these dialog policies on real user logs gathered from a PDA, deployed to millions of users, using both offline (judged) and online (user-click) metrics. We demonstrate that our hybrid dialog policy significantly increases the accuracy of choosing the correct response, measured by analyzing click-rate in logs, and also enhances user satisfaction, measured by human evaluations of the replayed experience.

DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2016-1534

Cite as

Khan, O.Z., Sarikaya, R. (2016) Making Personal Digital Assistants Aware of What They Do Not Know. Proc. Interspeech 2016, 1161-1165.

author={Omar Zia Khan and Ruhi Sarikaya},
title={Making Personal Digital Assistants Aware of What They Do Not Know},
booktitle={Interspeech 2016},