Seminar – April 9, 2019 @ 9.30 AM – Vocal Interaction with ‘Intelligent’ Machines: Are We Nearly There Yet?

Title: Vocal Interaction with ‘Intelligent’ Machines: Are We Nearly There Yet?

When: April 9, 2019

Time: 9:30 AM

Where: Room B104 ( Povo 2 )

Speakers : Roger Moore ( U Sheffield )



Recent years have seen considerable progress in the deployment of ‘intelligent’ communicative agents such as Apple’s Siri, Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. Such speech-enabled assistants are distinguished from the previous generation of voice-based systems in that they claim to offer access to services and information via conversational interaction. In reality, interaction has limited depth, and evidence from users suggests that the capabilities of contemporary spoken language systems continue to fall short of what they expect and the market needs. We still seem to be some distance away from creating Autonomous Social Agents that are truly capable of conversing effectively with their human counterparts in real world situations. This talk will address these issues and will argue that we need to go far beyond our current capabilities and understanding if we are to move from developing machines that simply talk and listen to evolving ‘intelligent’ communicative devices that are capable of entering into productive cooperative interactive relationships with human beings.



Prof. Moore ( has over 40 years’ experience in Speech Technology R&D and, although an engineer by training, much of his research has been based on insights from human speech perception and production. As Head of the UK Government’s Speech Research Unit from 1985 to 1999, he was responsible for the development of the Aurix range of speech technology products and the subsequent formation of 20/20 Speech Ltd. Since 2004 he has been Professor of Spoken Language Processing at the University of Sheffield, and also holds Visiting Chairs at Bristol Robotics Laboratory and University College London Psychology & Language Sciences. He was President of the European/International Speech Communication Association from 1997 to 2001, General Chair for INTERSPEECH-2009 and ISCA Distinguished Lecturer during 2014-15. In 2017 he organised the first international workshop on ‘Vocal Interactivity in-and-between Humans, Animals and Robots (VIHAR)’. Prof. Moore is the current Editor-in-Chief of Computer Speech & Language and in 2016 he was awarded the LREC Antonio Zampoli Prize for “Outstanding Contributions to the Advancement of Language Resources & Language Technology Evaluation within Human Language Technologies”.


Host: Prof. Giuseppe Riccardi

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