5th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Sydney, Australia
November 30 - December 4, 1998

Expanding A Time-Sensitive Conversational Architecture For Turn-Taking To Handle Content-Driven Interruption

Gregory Aist

Language Technologies Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, USA

Turn taking in spoken language systems has generally been push-to-talk or strict alternation (user speaks, system speaks, user speaks, ...) with some systems such as telephone-based systems handling barge-in (interruption by the user.) In this paper we describe our time sensitive conversational architecture for turn taking that not only allows alternating turns and barge in, but other conversational behaviors as well. This architecture allows backchanneling, prompting the user by taking more than one turn if necessary, and overlapping speech. The architecture is implemented in a Reading Tutor that listens to children read aloud, and helps them. We extended this architecture to allow the Reading Tutor to interrupt the student based on a non-self-corrected mistake - "content-driven interruption". To the best of our knowledge, the Reading Tutor is thus the first spoken language system to intentionally interrupt the user based on the content of the utterance.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Aist, Gregory (1998): "Expanding a time-sensitive conversational architecture for turn-taking to handle content-driven interruption", In ICSLP-1998, paper 0928.