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AISB event Bulletin Item

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION: BCS SGAI: conversational agents event, Oct 7th, London, UK

BCS Specialist Group on Artificial Intelligence (BCS SGAI)

 *** This event replaces the Machine Intelligence competition 
previously advertised ***

 Conversational Agents: Betty and The Narrator

 A Demonstration with Hands-on Experience

 Collette Curry, Manchester Metropolitan University

 Monday October 7th 2013 from 6 p.m.-7.30 p.m. (with refreshments
 provided from 5 p.m. onwards) at the British Computer Society London
 Office, 5 Southampton Street, London. The nearest underground 
 are Covent Garden, Embankment and Temple.

 This is a free event, open to all, but prior registration is needed 
 gain entry to the building.

 The emphasis will be on a demonstration with hands on experience. Our
 aim is to allow the maximum number of people to interact both with
 'Betty', the reminiscence aid and 'The Narrator', which knows a lot
 about the history of HMS Ark Royal. Both systems are based on 
 carried out at Manchester Metropolitan University by Collette Curry
 and others.

 'Betty' encourages conversation and reminiscence with participants.
 She learns from the conversation and allows each participant to build
 up a user dictionary of themes and subjects which can be recalled in
 future conversations. Use of a specially devised ontology for
 reminiscence coupled with the WordNet corpus allows the agent to
 converse about a wide range of relevant subject matter.  'Betty' has
 been successfully used in experiments which tested for improved well-
 being and also improvements in ageing memory in older people through
 conversational stimulation.  An additional benefit is the sharing of
 information with family members who can then take part in the
 reminiscence session with the participant.

 For 'The Narrator', creative writing is imported directly into the
 agent and added it to the knowledge base about the Ark Royal, thus
 allowing the pupil interacting with the agent to create their own
 story and to direct what happens next.  This is a development from
 scripted adventure games and has proved very popular with pupils
 experimenting with the system (many of whom had special needs).

 The session will start with an introduction to Betty and The 
Narrator. This will be followed by the hands-on sessions using 
laptops in small groups which will last about an hour (rotating 
between different related activities every 5-10 minutes):

 - creating a chatbot using a provided framework
 - meeting Betty the conversational agent and interacting with her
 (various versions, web and local) - meeting The Narrator chatbot and
 interacting with him (web based) - creative writing and importation 
 a chatbot framework for The Narrator

 The event will end with a question and answer session.

 An online registration form is available at