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Dialogue systems at KTH. Olga. Waxholm. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 00. 99. The August project. Key features of the August system. Part of the Stockholm Cultural Capital of Europe '98 program Swedish spoken dialogue system with an animated agent

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Dialogue systems at KTH












Key features of the

August system

  • Part of the Stockholm Cultural Capital of Europe '98 program

  • Swedish spoken dialogue system with an animated agent

  • Named after the 19th century author August Strindberg

  • Built with speech technology components developed at TMH

  • Designed to be easily expanded and reconfigured

  • Communicates using synthetic speech, facial expressions, maps, tables and a thought balloon

  • Used to collect spontaneous speech data

The topics of

the August system

  • Stockholm (events and general information)

  • Yellow pages

  • KTH and speech technology

  • August Strindberg

  • Greetings and social utterances

  • Comments about the system capabilities and the discourse

A sample video of the

system environment

Excellent as always!

You must specify a street

Hello August

How are you today?

What can I ask about?

Is there one close by?


Can you see me?

But we are here!

But we are here!


Where are we?

Are we in Kulturhuset?

I did not understand that!

Where are we?

My life cannot be measured in

terms of days and years!

I can tell you about

restaurants in Stockholm

We are now in the

center of Stockholm

There are 24,000 islands in

the Stockholm archipelago

The information is shown

on the map

There are over 700 restaurants in Stockholm

Can you recommend a

restaurant in the neighborhood

Are there any restaurants

on Blekingegatan?

My life cannot be measured in

terms of days and years!

The August system

Yes, it might be that we will!

What is your name?

Strindberg was born in 1849

What do you do for a living?

When were you born?

Do you like it here?

Good bye!

Thank you!

You are welcome!

Strindberg was married

three times!

Strindberg was married

three times!

Over a million people live

in the Stockholm area

I can answer questions about

Strindberg, KTH and Stockholm

I call myself Strindberg, but I

don’t really have a surname

How many people live in


People who live in glass houses

should not throw stones

I come from the department

of Speech, Music and Hearing

The information is shown

on the map

Yes, that was a smart thing

to say!

The Royal Institute of


Perhaps we will meet

soon again!

The AdApt system

  • Multimodal conversational dialogue system

  • System features an animated agent and an interactive map in an apartment domain

  • Developed by researchers from Centre for Speech Technology (KTH) and Telia Research

  • (Linda Bell, Johan Boye, Rolf Carlson, Jens Edlund, David House, Joakim Gustafson and Mats Wirén)

The AdApt project presented in a popular science program

broadcasted on Swedish national television, May 2000

They offer us advice on stock exchange and

there are virtual news anchors

None of them understand what we say

At the Centre for Speech Technology at the

Royal Institute of Technology

researchers are developing animated agents

that will be able to engage in dialogues

The animated agent Urban will be able

to pursue a freer sort of conversation

My name is Urban. What can I do for you?

Well, what can you do?

I can tell you about available apartments

in downtown Stockholm

I'd like to look at two-room apartments on the south

side of town with a balcony and a fireplace

I have information about five such apartments,

and I now show their locations on the map

Thank you very much

This is fun, but I could just as well access

this information through a text-based interface

What is the purpose of speaking computer?

The same information can be accessed,

but perhaps more efficiently

The system can also compare different apartments

I think speaking computers will be important in the future

You don't need the keyboard

Disabled people can use them

and inexperienced computer users

What are the difficulties involved?

Our goal is to build a system that can

handle a more complex sort of dialogue

A lot of problems remain to be solved...

... many things in the dialogue can go wrong

misunderstandings occur

We are now collecting data to see

how people speak to such a computer

...to try to improve the performance of future systems

Do people speak about anything just because

it is a face they are talking to?

We get a sense of trust, since we believe the

animated agent has human capabilities

This is something we have observed in our data -

people like to socialize with Urban and they

enjoy talking to him about this and that.

And once they have been developed,

what do you think their functions will be?

They will be used for a wide range of things

They can be used as personal assistants

and there is a commercial potential

We will probably see them selling things.

When can we meet Urban again

Stockholm Technical museum, where he will

be part of an exhibition shown this summer

Urban will make a guest appearance there

And you can talk to him

Do you know what the next part

of the program will be about?

Yes, about magnifying glasses that the

Vikings used a thousand years ago

Animated faces are appearing everywhere

Hello my name is Urban and I can tell you about nice apartments in downtown Stockholm

Hi Urban..eh..are there any available

apartments .. around here

How many rooms do you want

I want a three room apartment..eh..it would be

nice with an older one

There are five apartments in the shaded area

Well this apartment on Nybrogatan, can you

tell me a little bit more about it

The blue apartment was built in 1920. It has a tiled stove and a parquette floor

Alright and..eh..the yellow apartment

The yellow building was constructed in 1883

Does this apartment also have tiled stoves?

I’m sorry but I can’t answer that question