Category Archives: SpeechTEK University

STKU-1: Natural Language Understanding

SpeechTEK University – Sunday 23 April 
13:30 – 16:30

Natural language interaction with automated agents in call centers, with chatbots, and virtual assistants on mobile devices is becoming more and more common. Through developer tools such as Microsoft LUIS, IBM Watson, the Alexa Skills Kit, and Nuance Mix, natural language understanding capabilities are becoming increasingly accessible to developers who want to provide natural interfaces to their applications. In addition, new developments in machine learning such as Deep Learning are leading to rapid improvements in the technology. This workshop covers three topics in natural language interaction. First, we review the spectrum of different types of natural language applications. Then, we look at the technologies that underlie natural language interaction. Finally, we review the natural language understanding development process and work hands-on with some of the current development tools. Attendees are welcome to bring their own ideas for applications for discussion. Bring your laptops.

Presented by: Deborah Dahl

STKU-2: The Nuts & Bolts of Tuning a Speech Application

SpeechTEK University – Sunday 23 April 
13:30 – 16:30

The workshop provides step-by step guidelines of the speech application tuning process, starting with data collection, data transcriptions, and data tagging and going all the way to delivering a customer-focused recommendation report. Participants gain firsthand understanding of the three aspects of tuning: speech recognition performance, grammar, and dialogue design. The course examines whole call recording tools as well as tools that capture speech event logs and produces metrics. Participants engage in a structured tuning data analysis that targets high-usage dialogue states. In addition to traditional methods, the course introduces an innovative approach to tuning by combining a heuristic usability evaluation with the analysis. This simple, low-cost, low-impact usability assessment provides a caller focus and translates directly to building a business case for the tuning recommendations. Finally, the course explores how tuning methods need to adapt to the broader speech landscape that now includes multi-channel applications, in-car applications, wearables, and mobile devices.

Presented by: Nancy Gardner

STKU-3: Natural Language Understanding for Chatbots: Issues & Solutions

SpeechTEK University – Sunday 23 April 
13:30 – 16:30

In order to provide a flexible and intelligent service to users, chatbots must be able to understand natural language text and to engage in conversational interaction. The first part of this tutorial introduces a range of natural language understanding (NLU) technologies and highlights those that are particularly relevant for chatbot developers. The second part of the tutorial provides a hands-on exploration of the API.ai tools. API.ai was acquired by Google in 2016 and is being used to provide NLU and conversational capabilities for Google Assistant. Learn how to use API.ai to parse messages into structured data, to predict the next actions to be performed by your bot, and to create slot-filling dialogues. Bring your laptops to develop a sample chatbot.

Presented by: Michael McTear

KEYNOTE PANEL – The Future of Conversational Robots

KEYNOTE – Wednesday 26 April 
09:00 – 10:00

Amazon Echo, Google Home, and the Jibo social robots promise to enable users to perform many useful tasks, including control devices connected with the internet such as home appliances and industrial robots; educate and train users with self-improvement activities; entertain users with passive and active games and activities; perform transactions such as pay bills; shop for goods and services; solve problems such as diagnose illnesses; debug and repair products; calculate taxes; mediate conflicts; and protect and secure home and business. This panel begins with short demonstrations of products, followed by a discussion of issues such as these: What is a conversational robot and how do they differ from other current interactive technologies? What capabilities do conversational robots have beyond just searching the web, answering questions, and presenting information? How can you replace negative perceptions of robots with positive insights? What technologies, tools, and standards will to enable widespread creation and distribution of content for conversational robots?

Presented by: Leor Grebler, Sunil Vemuri, Roberto Pieraccini

STKU-4: Using a Data-Driven Approach to Design, Build, & Tune Spoken Dialogue Systems

SpeechTEK University – Wednesday, April 26, 2017 – Wednesday 26 April 
13:30 – 16:30

This workshop addresses the whole lifecycle of using data-driven approaches to design, train, and tune practical dialogue systems. The workshop focuses on natural language solutions in call center applications, but many of the techniques are equally applicable to building robust intelligent assistants. Topics covered in the workshop include using live Wizard-of-Oz techniques to test dialogue strategies and gather early customer language for semantic design; managing data collections; semantic annotation (including multi-dimensional semantics); training, testing, and tuning grammars; and data-driven approaches to optimizing dialogue and system performance.

Presented by: David Attwater

STKU-5: Deep Neural Networks in Speech Recognition

SpeechTEK University – Wednesday, April 26, 2017 – Wednesday 26 April 
13:30 – 16:30

Deep learning is setting new standards of accuracy for financial projections, image processing, advertising, translation, games, and virtually every field where we use massive databases to train systems for estimation, classification, and prediction. This tutorial reviews recent advances in machine learning with a focus on Deep Neural Nets (DNNs) for speech recognition and natural language processing. The session includes demonstrations and hands-on exercises. We recommend that participants bring a laptop. Attendees gain an understanding of DNN fundamentals, how they are used in acoustic and language modeling, and where technology appears to be headed.

Presented by: David L Thomson

STKU-6: Developing Multimodal Applications for New Platforms

SpeechTEK University – Wednesday, April 26, 2017 – Wednesday 26 April 
13:30 – 16:30

Multimodal interfaces, combining speech, graphics, and sensor input, are becoming increasingly important for interaction with the rapidly expanding variety of nontraditional platforms, including mobile, wearables, robots, and devices in the Internet of Things. User interfaces on these platforms will need to be much more varied than traditional user interfaces. We demonstrate how to develop multimodal clients using standards such as WebRTC, WebAudio, and Web Sockets and the Open Web Platform, including open technologies such as HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS. We also discuss integration with cloud resources for technologies such as speech recognition and natural language understanding. Attendees should have access to a browser that supports the Open Web Platform standards, for example, the current versions of Chrome, Firefox, or Opera. Basic knowledge of HTML5 and JavaScript would be very helpful.

Presented by: Deborah Dahl

STKU-7: Voice Experience Design for Alexa Skills

SpeechTEK University – Wednesday, April 26, 2017 – Wednesday 26 April 
13:30 – 16:30

Join us to learn about creating within the Alexa ecosystem using the Alexa Skill Kit. We cover general capabilities and use real-world examples of skills to illustrate voice experience design best practices. Attendees experience prototyping techniques and work in groups to define and prototype a skill. Before coming, please sign up at developer.amazon.com. And be sure to bring your laptop!

Presented by: David Bliss, Phillip Hunter