Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

Talk to the Ghost: The Storybox Methodology for Faster Development of Storytelling Chatbots

Jackson, David and Latham, Annabel ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8410-7950 (2021) Talk to the Ghost: The Storybox Methodology for Faster Development of Storytelling Chatbots. Expert Systems with Applications. p. 116223. ISSN 0957-4174

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File will be available on: 16 November 2022.
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This paper presents the Storybox Methodology which combines a novel framework for structuring knowledge and conversations around a story (D-PAF), with a live chatroom-based training approach that builds the conversation knowledge base via live chatroom interactions. Chatbots have achieved success as intelligent interfaces in education, health, sales and support, but their move towards mainstream adoption has been hindered by the large amount of development resources required, in terms of data collection, preparation, user testing and technical knowledge. The complexity of the development task often necessitates both a system author and a domain expert working effectively together, adding further complexity and risk. Overcoming these barriers could increase feasibility of chatbots in a range of expert contexts. In education, there are groups of learners who do not enjoy reading and writing. Storytelling chatbots might be able to introduce these groups to enjoyable new ways to read and write, having a beneficial impact on their education and future prospects. This paper proposes the Storybox Methodology for the rapid development of storytelling chatbots. Storybox is evaluated by creating, training and testing ‘The Ghost’, a chatbot enacting Hamlet's Ghost character from William Shakespeare's dramatic tragedy. The results showed that after a period of live chatbot training of only 25 training conversations, The Ghost was able to conduct convincing conversations with participants.

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