Improving conversational dynamics with reactive speech synthesis

Dubiel, Mateusz and Halvey, Martin and Azzopardi, Leif and Aylett, Matthew and Wester, Miriam and Braude, David A. (2018) Improving conversational dynamics with reactive speech synthesis. In: Voice-based Conversational UX Studies and Design Workshop, 2018-04-22 - 2018-04-22.

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The active exchange of ideas and/or information is a crucial feature of human-human conversation. Yet it is a skill that present-day ‘conversational’ interfaces are lacking, which effectively hampers the dynamics of interaction and makes it feel artificial. In this paper, we present a reactive speech synthesis system that can handle user’s interruptions. Initial results of evaluation of our interactive experiment indicate that participants prefer a reactive system to a non-reactive one. Based on participants’ feedback, we suggest potential applications for reactive speech synthesis systems (i.e. interactive tutor and adventure game) and propose further interactive user experiments to evaluate them. We anticipate that the reactive system can offer more engaging and dynamic interaction and improve user experience by making it feel more like a natural human-human conversation.