Research papers and code for "Q. Vera Liao":
The rise of increasingly more powerful chatbots offers a new way to collect information through conversational surveys, where a chatbot asks open-ended questions, interprets a user's free-text responses, and probes answers when needed. To investigate the effectiveness and limitations of such a chatbot in conducting surveys, we conducted a field study involving about 600 participants. In this study, half of the participants took a typical online survey on Qualtrics and the other half interacted with an AI-powered chatbot to complete a conversational survey. Our detailed analysis of over 5200 free-text responses revealed that the chatbot drove a significantly higher level of participant engagement and elicited significantly better quality responses in terms of relevance, depth, and readability. Based on our results, we discuss design implications for creating AI-powered chatbots to conduct effective surveys and beyond.

* Currently under review
Click to Read Paper and Get Code
Many conversational agents in the market today follow a standard bot development framework which requires training intent classifiers to recognize user input. The need to create a proper set of training examples is often the bottleneck in the development process. In many occasions agent developers have access to historical chat logs that can provide a good quantity as well as coverage of training examples. However, the cost of labeling them with tens to hundreds of intents often prohibits taking full advantage of these chat logs. In this paper, we present a framework called \textit{search, label, and propagate} (SLP) for bootstrapping intents from existing chat logs using weak supervision. The framework reduces hours to days of labeling effort down to minutes of work by using a search engine to find examples, then relies on a data programming approach to automatically expand the labels. We report on a user study that shows positive user feedback for this new approach to build conversational agents, and demonstrates the effectiveness of using data programming for auto-labeling. While the system is developed for training conversational agents, the framework has broader application in significantly reducing labeling effort for training text classifiers.

* 6 pages, 3 figures, 1 table, Accepted for publication in IAAI 2019
Click to Read Paper and Get Code