On August 28, 2017


Justine Cassell, Carnegie Mellon University


Modeling Dyadic Phenomena in Intelligent Conversational Agents


In this talk I propose a particular computational sociocultural approach to the study of the so-called "social emotions" - intrinsically dyadic states such as rapport, friendship, intimacy, interpersonal closeness. I rely on this approach to describe the surface level observable verbal and nonverbal behaviors that function to evoke, deepen, demonstrate, and destroy these dyadic social emotions. I highlight the need for differentiating the observable behaviors from inferable underlying states by demonstrating how putatively negative visible behaviors may play a positive role in underlying states. Finally, I describe some important roles that these often discounted aspects of human behavior play in learning, commercial transactions, and other facets of day-to-day life. Each step of this talk is illustrated by experiments that involve human-human and human-computer interaction. I include novel approaches to modeling and generating behaviors for human-computer interaction on the basis of the human-human corpora. And finally, lessons are drawn both for the study of human behavior, and the improved design of technologies capable of engaging in conversational interaction with people over the long-term.


Justine Cassell is Associate Dean of Technology Strategy and Impact in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, and Director Emerita of the Human Computer Interaction Institute. She co-directs the Yahoo-CMU InMind partnership on the future of personal assistants. Previously Cassell was faculty at Northwestern University where she founded the Technology and Social Behavior Doctoral Program and Research Center. Before that she was a tenured professor at the MIT Media Lab. Cassell received the MIT Edgerton Prize, and Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision award, in 2011 was named to the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on AI and Robotics, in 2012 named a AAAS fellow, in 2016 made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Scotland, and in 2017 made a Fellow of the ACM. In 2017-2018 Cassell will hold the Chaire Blaise Pascal in Paris. Cassell has spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos for the past 5 years on topics concerning the impact of AI and Robotics on society.