Foundations of collaborative task-oriented dialogue: what's in a slot?

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In this paper, we examine the foundations of task-oriented dialogues, in which systems are requested to perform tasks for humans. We argue that the way this dialogue task has been framed has limited its applicability to processing simple requests with atomic “slot-fillers”. However, real task-oriented dialogues can contain more complex utterances that provide non-atomic constraints on slot values. For example, in response to the system’s question “What time do you want me to reserve the restaurant?”, a user should be able to say “the earliest time available,” which cannot be handled by classic “intent + slots” approaches that do not incorporate expressive logical form meaning representations. Furthermore, situations for which it would be desirable to build task-oriented dialogue systems, e.g., to engage in mixed-initiative, collaborative or multiparty dialogues, will require a more general approach. In order to overcome these limitations and to provide such an approach, we give a logical analysis of the “intent+slot” dialogue setting using a modal logic of intention and including a more expansive notion of “dialogue state”. Finally, we briefly discuss our program of research to build a next generation of plan-based dialogue systems that goes beyond “intent + slots”.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSIGDIAL 2018 - 19th Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Conference - 12-14 July 2018 Melbourne, Australia
EditorsDiane Litman, Kai Yu
Place of PublicationStroudsburg PA USA
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781948087674
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019
EventSIGdial Workshop on Discourse and Dialog 2019 - KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 11 Sep 201913 Sep 2019
Conference number: 20th


ConferenceSIGdial Workshop on Discourse and Dialog 2019
Abbreviated titleSigDial 2019
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