Roger Moore

Roger Moore
The University of Sheffield
Talking with Robots: Are We Nearly There Yet?

Recent years have seen considerable progress in the deployment of 'intelligent' communicative agents such as Apple's Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. However, effective speech-based human-robot dialogue is less well developed; not only do the fields of robotics and spoken language technology present their own special problems, but their combination raises an additional set of issues. In particular, there appears to be a large gap between the formulaic behaviour that typifies contemporary spoken language dialogue systems and the rich and flexible nature of human-human conversation. As a consequence, we still seem to be some distance away from creating Autonomous Social Agents such as robots that are truly capable of conversing effectively with their human counterparts in real world situations. This talk will address these issues and will argue that we need to go far beyond our current capabilities and understanding if we are to move from developing robots that simply talk and listen to evolving intelligent communicative machines that are capable of entering into effective cooperative relationships with human beings.


Prof. Moore has over 40 years’ experience in Speech Technology R&D and, although an engineer by training, much of his research has been based on insights from human speech perception and production. As Head of the UK Government's Speech Research Unit from 1985 to 1999, he was responsible for the development of the Aurix range of speech technology products and the subsequent formation of 20/20 Speech Ltd. Since 2004 he has been Professor of Spoken Language Processing at the University of Sheffield, and also holds Visiting Chairs at Bristol Robotics Laboratory and University College London Psychology & Language Sciences. He was President of the European/International Speech Communication Association from 1997 to 2001, General Chair for INTERSPEECH-2009 and ISCA Distinguished Lecturer during 2014-15. In 2017 he organised the first international workshop on ‘Vocal Interactivity in-and-between Humans, Animals and Robots (VIHAR)’. Prof. Moore is the current Editor-in-Chief of Computer Speech & Language and in 2016 he was awarded the LREC Antonio Zampoli Prize for "Outstanding Contributions to the Advancement of Language Resources & Language Technology Evaluation within Human Language Technologies” and in 2020 he was given the International Speech Communication Association Special Service Medal for "service in the establishment, leadership and international growth of ISCA".

Thursday, February 3, 2022 - 15:00