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Conversation with and through computers

Abstract

People design what they say specifically for their conversational partners, and they adapt to their partners over the course of a conversation. A comparison of keyboard conversations involving a simulated computer partner (as in a natural language interface) with those involving a human partner (as in teleconferencing) yielded striking differences and some equally striking similarities. For instance, there were significantly fewer acknowledgments in human/computer dialogue than in human/human. However, regardless of the conversational partner, people expected connectedness across conversational turns. In addition, the style of a partner's response shaped what people subsequently typed. These results suggest some issues that need to be addressed before a natural language computer interface will be able to hold up its end of a conversation.

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Brennan, S.E. Conversation with and through computers. User Model User-Adap Inter 1, 67–86 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00158952

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Key words

  • discourse modeling
  • human/computer interaction
  • natural language interfaces
  • recipient design