ADAPT Talk at AtlanTec Festival

The AtlanTec Festival will take place between the 17th and 21st May online.  This year the theme is ‘Thriving through Digital Transformation.  As part of the event Prof Ben Cowan and research student Justin Edwards will deliver a talk at 11.30 am on the 18th May titled ‘Being proactive: The future of digital voice assistants?’

Voice-based assistants have become a prominent platform for interaction. Yet they are currently limited in how they interact with users, waiting for the user to take the lead. This talk will focus on work being done at the ADAPT Centre on making voice agents more proactive and how this may be transformative for voice agent design, focusing on the opportunities and interaction challenges involved in proactive agent interaction.

Dr Benjamin Cowan is an Assistant Professor at University College Dublin’s School of Information & Communication Studies. His research lies at the juncture between psychology, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and computer science in investigating how theoretical perspectives in human communication can be applied to understand phenomena in speech-based human-machine communication. He has published widely on user-centred issues in conversational and speech interface interaction, is co-founder of the international Conversational User Interfaces (CUI) conference series and has been involved in a number of workshops on this topic at major international conferences. Dr Cowan is also the co-founder and co-director of the HCI@UCD group, one of the largest university-based HCI research groups in Ireland and is a funded investigator in the SFI funded ADAPT Centre, which looks to develop and design cutting edge future digital technology interactions.

Justin Edwards is a PhD candidate at University College Dublin and a member of the ADAPT Centre. His research examines speech in multitasking environments, examining how people speak to machines when busy conducting other tasks and applying these insights to the design of system-initiated dialogue with conversational agents. His work has been presented at CHI, CUI and MobileHCI and published in Interacting with Computers. He also hosts a podcast about computational creativity called Robots on Typewriters, with work on this topic being published twice at the CUI Conference.