What is it about?

Social chatbots are an important part of artificial intelligence (AI) research. One of the goals of AI research is to develop a chatbot that understands human emotions. This would help it to form emotional connections with users. In this study, the authors describe Microsoft XiaoIce, the leading social chatbot in this direction. At present, it has over 660 million subscribed users. Many of them have formed long term connections with the chatbot. The authors considered both intelligent quotient (IQ) and emotional quotient (EQ) in their design. They optimized the chatbot for long term engagement with the user, and measured its performance using Conversation turns per session (CPS). A high CPS score implied a high quality of interaction between the user and XiaoIce. They showed that XiaoIce could recognize the user's feelings, their mental states, and intention. This helped it adjust its response and hold long discussions. It also encouraged them to complete specific tasks. In fact, its CPS score was higher than other chatbots and even humans.

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Why is it important?

Studies show that happiness often correlates with meaningful interactions. In the age of social media, chatbots can become an alternative for human connection if they can understand and respond to human emotions. This means they should not only have a high IQ but also a high EQ. This study shows that XiaoIce can go a long way in fulfilling this need. KEY TAKEAWAY: XiaoIce is a social chatbot that can form emotional connections with humans at a level much higher than other chatbots and even humans.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The Design and Implementation of XiaoIce, an Empathetic Social Chatbot, Computational Linguistics, March 2020, The MIT Press,
DOI: 10.1162/coli_a_00368.
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