Paul O’Rorke

Archive for May, 2013

Ron Kaplan on the Conversational User Interface

by on May.07, 2013, under Meeting Notes

On May 7th, 2013, Ron Kaplan spoke at the CMU Silicon Valley Campus and claimed that now is the time for the “Conversational User Interface (CUI).”  He claimed the Graphical User Interface (GUI) has “topped out” and showed an old cluttered and complex version of Expedia’s GUI to prove his point.

Forty years ago, Ron and colleagues at Xerox PARC published a paper about an early intelligent assistant called GUS (Genial Understanding System) that helped a user plan a flight from Palo Alto to San Diego.  However it is only recently that the Conversational User Interface has become possible.  Forty years ago, the quality of speech recognition was poor.  Difficulties with ambiguity in natural language and with the sheer complexity of language slowed progress.  The telegraphic nature of conversation and the fact that so much of what is communicated is unspoken also slowed progress.  Ron argued that advances in speech recognition and in computational linguistics will soon make Conversational User Interfaces a reality.

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