NLP for Conversational AI

Workshop Proposal for ACL / EMNLP-IJCNLP 2019


Ever since the invention of the intelligent machine, hundreds and thousands of mathematicians, linguists, and computer scientists have dedicated their career to empowering human-machine communication in natural language. Although the idea is finally around the corner with a proliferation of virtual personal assistants such as Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana, the development of these conversational agents remains difficult and there still remain plenty of unanswered questions and challenges.

Conversational AI is hard because it is an interdisciplinary subject. Initiatives were started in different research communities, from Dialogue State Tracking Challenges to NIPS Conversational Intelligence Challenge live competition and the Amazon Alexa prize. However, various fields within the NLP community, such as semantic parsing, coreference resolution, sentiment analysis, question answering, and machine reading comprehension etc. have been seldom evaluated or applied in the context of conversational AI.

The goal of this workshop is to bring together NLP researchers and practitioners in different fields, alongside experts in speech and machine learning, to discuss the current state-of-the-art and new approaches, to share insights and challenges, to bridge the gap between academic research and real-world product deployment, and to shed the light on future directions. “NLP for Conversational AI” will be a one-day workshop including keynotes, spotlight talks, posters, and panel sessions. In keynote talks, senior technical leaders from industry and academia will share insights on the latest developments of the field. An open call for papers will be announced to encourage researchers and students to share their prospects and latest discoveries. The panel discussion will focus on the challenges, future directions of conversational AI research, bridging the gap in research and industrial practice, as well as audience-suggested topics.

Tentative Invited Speakers

    • Matthew Henderson - PolyAI
    • Verena Reiser - Heriot Watt University
    • Jianfeng Gao - Microsoft
    • Steve Young - Apple
    • Jason Weston - Facebook AI
    • ...

Important Dates

Paper Submission: TBD

Author Notification: TBD

Workshop Date: TBD