Planning for Goal-Oriented Dialogue Systems

10/17/2019
by   Christian Muise, et al.
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Generating complex multi-turn goal-oriented dialogue agents is a difficult problem that has seen a considerable focus from many leaders in the tech industry, including IBM, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. This is in large part due to the rapidly growing market demand for dialogue agents capable of goal-oriented behaviour. Due to the business process nature of these conversations, end-to-end machine learning systems are generally not a viable option, as the generated dialogue agents must be deployable and verifiable on behalf of the businesses authoring them. In this work, we propose a paradigm shift in the creation of goal-oriented complex dialogue systems that dramatically eliminates the need for a designer to manually specify a dialogue tree, which nearly all current systems have to resort to when the interaction pattern falls outside standard patterns such as slot filling. We propose a declarative representation of the dialogue agent to be processed by state-of-the-art planning technology. Our proposed approach covers all aspects of the process; from model solicitation to the execution of the generated plans/dialogue agents. Along the way, we introduce novel planning encodings for declarative dialogue synthesis, a variety of interfaces for working with the specification as a dialogue architect, and a robust executor for generalized contingent plans. We have created prototype implementations of all components, and in this paper, we further demonstrate the resulting system empirically.

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