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To Talk or Not to Talk: Smart Speaker Determines Optimal Timing to Talk
A KAIST research team has developed a new context-awareness technology that enables AI assistants to determine when to talk to their users based on user circumstances. This technology can contribute to developing advanced AI assistants that can offer pre-emptive services such as reminding users to take medication on time or modifying schedules based on the actual progress of planned tasks. Unlike conventional AI assistants that used to act passively upon users’ commands, today’s AI assistants are evolving to provide more proactive services through self-reasoning of user circumstances. This opens up new opportunities for AI assistants to better support users in their daily lives. However, if AI assistants do not talk at the right time, they could rather interrupt their users instead of helping them. The right time for talking is more difficult for AI assistants to determine than it appears. This is because the context can differ depending on the state of the user or the surrounding environment. A group of researchers led by Professor Uichin Lee from the KAIST School of Computing identified key contextual factors in user circumstances that determine when the AI assistant should start, stop, or resume engaging in voice services in smart home environments. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies (IMWUT) in September. The group conducted this study in collaboration with Professor Jae-Gil Lee’s group in the KAIST School of Computing, Professor Sangsu Lee’s group in the KAIST Department of Industrial Design, and Professor Auk Kim’s group at Kangwon National University. After developing smart speakers equipped with AI assistant function for experimental use, the researchers installed them in the rooms of 40 students who live in double-occupancy campus dormitories and collected a total of 3,500 in-situ user response data records over a period of a week. The smart speakers repeatedly asked the students a question, “Is now a good time to talk?” at random intervals or whenever a student’s movement was detected. Students answered with either “yes” or “no” and then explained why, describing what they had been doing before being questioned by the smart speakers. Data analysis revealed that 47% of user responses were “no” indicating they did not want to be interrupted. The research team then created 19 home activity categories to cross-analyze the key contextual factors that determine opportune moments for AI assistants to talk, and classified these factors into ‘personal,’ ‘movement,’ and ‘social’ factors respectively. Personal factors, for instance, include: 1. the degree of concentration on or engagement in activities, 2. the degree urgency and busyness, 3. the state of user’s mental or physical condition, and 4. the state of being able to talk or listen while multitasking. While users were busy concentrating on studying, tired, or drying hair, they found it difficult to engage in conversational interactions with the smart speakers. Some representative movement factors include departure, entrance, and physical activity transitions. Interestingly, in movement scenarios, the team found that the communication range was an important factor. Departure is an outbound movement from the smart speaker, and entrance is an inbound movement. Users were much more available during inbound movement scenarios as opposed to outbound movement scenarios. In general, smart speakers are located in a shared place at home, such as a living room, where multiple family members gather at the same time. In Professor Lee’s group’s experiment, almost half of the in-situ user responses were collected when both roommates were present. The group found social presence also influenced interruptibility. Roommates often wanted to minimize possible interpersonal conflicts, such as disturbing their roommates' sleep or work. Narae Cha, the lead author of this study, explained, “By considering personal, movement, and social factors, we can envision a smart speaker that can intelligently manage the timing of conversations with users.” She believes that this work lays the foundation for the future of AI assistants, adding, “Multi-modal sensory data can be used for context sensing, and this context information will help smart speakers proactively determine when it is a good time to start, stop, or resume conversations with their users.” This work was supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea. Publication: Cha, N, et al. (2020) “Hello There! Is Now a Good Time to Talk?”: Opportune Moments for Proactive Interactions with Smart Speakers. Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies (IMWUT), Vol. 4, No. 3, Article No. 74, pp. 1-28. Available online at https://doi.org/10.1145/3411810 Link to Introductory Video: https://youtu.be/AA8CTi2hEf0 Profile: Uichin Lee Associate Professor email@example.com http://ic.kaist.ac.kr Interactive Computing Lab. School of Computing https://www.kaist.ac.kr Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Daejeon, Republic of Korea (END)
Professor Kun-pyo Lee Appointed Honorary Fellow of the Design Research Society
Founded in the United Kingdom (UK) in 1966, the Design Research Society is an international academic organization that promotes excellence in design and supports the interests of the design research community. Professor Kun-pyo Lee of the Industrial Design Department at KAIST received his honorary fellowship from the Society at its 50th international conference held from June 27, 2016 to July 3, 2016 in Brighton, UK. The Society recognized Professor Lee’s academic achievements and his contribution to the advancement of design research nationally and globally. To date, only eight researchers have received honorary fellowships from the Society, and he is the first Asian to become an honorary fellow. Professor Lee has worked at KAIST for more than 30 years as a professor in industrial engineering and served on various important positions such as the president of the Korean Society of Design Science, the president of the International Association of Societies of Design Research, an executive vice president of the Corporate Design Center at LG Electronics, and an advisory board member for Human-centered Design Network in Japan and UXnet in the United States. By introducing the concept of user experience (UX) in Korea for the first time, he developed this field while focusing on user-centered designs to optimize interactive digital products as well as interaction design to create mental and physical interfaces between people and interactive digital products, services, and systems. Professor Lee said, “I am pleased to become an honorary fellow of the Design Research Society. For quiet some time, industrial design remained in the domain of practical studies, lacking the kind of support needed to grow as an independent academic and research discipline, but this has changed rapidly in recent years. I will continue to remain actively involved in the development of industrial design engineering in Korea and the world.”
Largest Number of Teams Selected From KAIST at 2007 LG Global Challenger Contest
Largest Number of Teams Selected From KAIST at 2007 LG Global Challenger Contest The largest number of teams has been selected from KAIST at 2007 LG Global Challenger Contest Despite of the record high competitive rate of 30/ 800, the largest number of teams has been selected from KAIST at 2007 LG Global Challenger Contest. LG Global Challenger Contest is an exploration program where undergraduate and graduate students perform explorations on their own schedules and share the results with the public online. Thus far, about 1,500 students from 410 teams have participated in the contest, and the contest is now regarded as the most representative overseas exploration program among university students, showing the average competitive rate of 1/ 20. Exploration teams are selected by thorough examination and the members of selected teams have to complete the preliminary education program. The exploration teams will perform two-week overseas exploration on their own schedule during the summer vacation and their exploration activities will be relayed through the official web site of the contest by the designated team for online relay. The exploration teams are obliged to submit the result reports, and the winners of the prize for good reports will be granted scholarship and employment privileges. The followings are the selected teams from KAIST: Name: U-rekaTopic: U-Eco City, Advanced city where nature and human are well harmonizedMembers: A-Chim Chang (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)Hyuk-Il Cho (Department of Computer Sciences)Jung-Hyun Hong (Department of Industrial Engineering)Seung-Kyun Ryu (Department of Computer Sciences) Name: TWIMTopic: The trend of unmanned ground vehicle development and its influence on unmanned societyMembers: Moon-Jung Byun (Department of Mechanical Engineering)Joon-Seok Park (Department of Electrical Engineering)Hye-Sun Hyun (Department of Electrical Engineering)Jong-Hoon Kim (Department of Electrical Engineering) Team Impediment-free ODATopic: Future way of Korean ODAMembers: Joon-Youn Kim (Department of Industrial Engineering) Jae-Min Kim (Department of Industrial Engineering)Yoon-Jung Choi (Department of Industrial Engineering)Seul-Ki Lee (Department of Industrial Engineering)
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