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Creating a Better Chatbot Through Crowdsourcing 49

An anonymous reader writes "MIT Technology Review reports on a chatbot built at the University of Rochester that is capable of high quality, human-level conversation — thanks to software called Chorus that turns to Amazon's crowdsourcing service Mechanical Turk to generate and evaluate replies to a human's statements and questions. No one person is ever acting as the bot, instead multiple workers suggest responses that are then voted on to select the best. The crowd workers contributing change frequently, but Chorus also has them keep a running list of important contextual information to give the bot a kind of memory of a conversation's history. The researchers say Chorus-style chat bots could out-perform fully automated assistants such as Siri, while being considerably cheaper than a true concierge service."
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Creating a Better Chatbot Through Crowdsourcing

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  • Five or six years ago one could find decent work on Mechanical Turk. I used to do podcast transcriptions for around US$10/hour, and some of the podcasts were on topics of interest to me, so it was enjoyable. The ability to do such work remotely made for some good times sitting on beaches in various backpacker hideaways, where the money from a couple of hours of work a day was more than enough to pay one's travel costs. Eventually I got better, more dependable work and stopped logging into MTurk. When I visited it again a couple of years later, I noticed that the money now paid for such tasks is miniscule. It really became a race to the bottom. Even if the money offered was enough for people in the Third World, surely people with the English language skills required could find something better. It's unclear to be just what demographic MTurk is depending on now.
  • Re:BREAKING NEWS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Monday September 10, 2012 @06:51PM (#41294135) Homepage

    Get a small child who is just about old enough to understand that telephones are for talking to people. They love to talk to *anyone* on the phone.

    Did you know that if telemarketers hang up on a call, it counts against them in their call stats?

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.