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By Valerie Adams

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Moreover, as of today, there are no effective error recovery dialogue strategies2 available for unconstrained natural language interactions. Conversely there are several types of transactional applications that achieve high usability with interactions that are not natural and free. 3 Most of the applications in this category are characterised by a domain model that is well understood by the user population. ) The same applies to the domain of flight status information: flights can be on time, late, or cancelled, they arrive and depart daily from airports which serve one or more cities and can be identified by a number or by their itinerary and time.

Once the user’s speech has been recognised, and the recognition results returned to the browser in the form of a structured set of variables, the browser sends them back to the Web Figure 2. 18 Voice Typical architecture of commercial dialogue system. eXtensible Markup Language. Where Do We Go From Here? 11 server, together with the request for another VoiceXML document. The Web server then replies by sending the requested document to the browser, and the interaction continues in this fashion. Using static VoiceXML documents, the dialogue manager function is actually distributed across the various VoiceXML pages, as in a static visual website, the navigation is distributed across the collection of HTML documents.

One thing to notice in the above described architecture is that the specific language models used by the speech recognition and natural language understanding engines are supposed to be constant throughout a whole session. In fact, one of the basic assumptions behind most research prototypes is that the system should be able to understand all the possible expressions defined by the language model at any point during the interaction. However it is clear that there is a correlation between the distribution of possible utterances and the dialogue state or context.

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