Wednesday, 20 January 2016

IBM, U. of Michigan Creating Chatty Computer

How would you like to have a conversation with your computer to plan your vacation or to do your taxes, or literally hold a discussion with your car about the best way to get home through traffic? Well, if a new project from IBM and the University of Michigan goes as planned, that may not be so far off.

Sure, it is possible to "talk" to PCs, cars, smartphones and other devices today, but the interaction is limited to rote question and answering. What the University of Michigan and IBM have in mind is the ability to hold real conversations with these systems "on human terms," the university said.

The University of Michigan and IBM have launched a $4.5 million collaboration to develop a new class of conversational technologies that will enable people to interact more naturally and effectively with computers. The multiyear partnership is expected to usher in the next frontier of artificial intelligence (AI)-based dialog management that will transform human-machine communication.

Indeed, in an effort known as Project Sapphire, IBM and the University of Michigan Artificial Intelligence Lab will develop a cognitive system that functions as an academic advisor for undergraduate computer science and engineering majors at the university. The system will enable researchers to explore how smart machines interact with people in goal-driven dialogues.

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