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Towards a New Generation of Conversational Agents Based on Sentence Similarity.

O'Shea, K, Bandar, Z and Crockett, KA (2008) Towards a New Generation of Conversational Agents Based on Sentence Similarity. Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering, 39. ISSN 1876-1100

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Abstract

The Conversational Agent (CA) is a computer program that can engage in conversation using natural language dialogue with a human participant. Most CAs employ a pattern-matching technique to map user input onto structural patterns of sentences. However, every combination of utterances that a user may send as input must be taken into account when constructing such a script. This chapter was concerned with constructing a novel CA using sentence similarity measures. Examining word meaning rather than structural patterns of sentences meant that scripting was reduced to a couple of natural language sentences per rule as opposed to potentially 100s of patterns. Furthermore, initial results indicate good sentence similarity matching with 13 out of 18 domain-specific user utterances as opposed to that of the traditional pattern matching approach.

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