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March 13, 2020

Friday Night AI: “Conversational AI: Technologies that Power Today’s Chatbots”
Free and open to the public

Invited speakers: Prof. Nikola Banovic, Prof. David Jurgens, and Chung Hoon Hong 
Organizer: Michigan AI Lab, in collaboration with the Ann Arbor District Library
Moderator: Prof. Rada Mihalcea
When: March 13, at 7:00 pm
Where: AADL Ann Arbor downtown library, multi-purpose room (343 S 5th Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104)

Friday Night AI poster

Humans have imagined conversations with machines even since their invention. While this goal was out of reach early on, we now are now in a position to develop these conversational agents thanks to modern improvements in AI and computing power. The University of Michigan has been developing a conversational chatbot as a part of the Alexa Prize Competition, a select international competition to develop interactive AI on Amazon’s Alexa that can hold an engaging conversation for 20 minutes–a lofty goal! Join us for an evening to discuss research on how we are building AI systems that converse naturally with humans, and what the future of chatbots may look like.

Presenters Professor Nikola Banovic, Professor David Jurgens, and Chung Hoon Hong will focus on:

  • What is the state-of-the-art in conversational AI? 
  • What are the key challenges? 
  • What are the potential applications and who will benefit? 
  • David Jurgens is an assistant professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan where he directs the Blablablab. His research combines natural language processing, network science and data science to discover, explain and predict human behavior in large social systems.
  • Nikola Banovic is an assistant professor in the Computer Science and Engineering department at the University of Michigan, where he leads the Computational HCI lab. His research focuses on understanding and modeling human behavior to support innovative information technology that will change how we study and design interactive user experiences. He creates technology that automatically reasons about and acts in response to people’s behavior to help them be productive, healthy, and safe. 
  • Chung Hoon Hong is a graduate student pursuing a Master’s in Data Science at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He is leading a team of 12 members to create “Audrey” — an active listening and personalized socialbot — by planning the development process and closely communicating with the Alexa Prize team from Amazon.

Prof. Rada Mihalcea, Director Michigan AI, will moderate the discussion.

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