Sixth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP 2000)

Beijing, China
October 16-20, 2000

Elements of Conversational Computing - a Paradigm Shift

Stéphane H. Maes

IBM T.J.Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY, USA

The new decade will be characterized by the availability of multiple access devices that enable ubiquitous access to information. The ability to access and transform information via a multiplicity of appliances, each designed to suit the user's specific usage environment, necessarily means that these interactions will exploit all available input and output modalities to maximize the band-width of man-machine communication.

This paper introduces the concept of conversational computing: a set of new fundamental principles of computing that the new generation of computers will need to follow in order to satisfy the new demand that information can be accessed and manipulated anywhere, at any time and through any device. A feat not yet achievable with today's access devices and channels.

We address the challenges of designing user interfaces that work across these multiplicity of information appliances Amongst the key issues to be addressed are the user's ability to interact in parallel with the same information via a multiplicity of appliances and user interfaces, and the need to present a unified, synchronized view of information across the various appliances that the user deploys to interact with information. We achieve such synchronized interactions and views by adopting the well-known Model, View, Controller (MVC) design paradigm and adapting it to conversational interactions.

Following these key principles, we will discusses principles, functions and services to be supported by CUI applications or platforms. In particular, we introduce a new programming model, "programming by interaction", as corner stone of new CUI application development environments. This will demonstrate by example the implications that conversational computing can be expected to have on the IT world.


Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Maes, Stéphane H. (2000): "Elements of conversational computing - a paradigm shift", In ICSLP-2000, vol.1, 130-133.