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ESL Chatbot - 1st commercial release of a ChatScript product
 
 

SpeakGlobal (Japan) released last year a website for teaching English to Japanese, using chatbot technology for practice. Their featured bots were written using ChatScript. I was involved in initial creation, though they have extended the bots on their own.

Here are demo links to videos on their YouTube Channel (SpeakGlobalJapan), Facebook, and main site:

Ben: http://youtu.be/KDpZ5xaXpj8

Meg: http://youtu.be/hKLFYQfW8PM

John: http://youtu.be/eEZldgSobOk

The Ben demo is a general all-around conversation. Meg shows how a user can stay on one topic.  John shows how a user can change topics.

The human in the demos worked on the topic files, so was familiar with the material but didn’t really didn’t know exactly what the bots would say (though obviously is being a cooperative student and not a Loebner judge). 

With John and Meg it was not rehearsed at all. Just ad-libbing and one take only. With Ben it was also ad-lib though the human had to start over with Ben once.

The videos are to show site visitors what an A.I. chatbot is, how they can use it to practice English, how it can be used with speech recognition, etc. People in Japan still don’t know anything about chatbots or what to do with them…and earlier, there seemed to be a negative connotation. That is, the attitude of “I don’t want to speak to a robot. I want to speak English with a real person”. SpeakGlobal’s stance is that chatbots are not to replace people, but give users a platform in which to ‘practice’ speaking, without being embarrassed or fear of making mistakes. THEN, they can go into their virtual world and do live voice chat with REAL native English speakers.

NHK TV (Japan) is doing a special on practical uses of A.I. in daily life, and will be including SpeakGlobal in their story.

 

 
  [ # 1 ]
Bruce Wilcox - Feb 13, 2012:

Their featured bots were written using ChatScript.

Congratulations Bruce but not all their featured bots are written in Chatscript. Zark the alien is created using AIML.
Their other bots: Isabelle, the Quizbot, Jenny, Ryan and Kate are also written in AIML.

 

 
  [ # 2 ]

Hi, Steve.

I used the word “featuring” advisedly. I am aware you wrote a bunch of AIML bots for them but they are not “featured”, merely present.

bruce

 

 
  [ # 3 ]

Don’t forget them to add those to our directory for extra visibility:
http://www.chatbots.org/directory/insert_chatbot/

 

 
  [ # 4 ]

the publicly visible Meg is at: http://www.chatbots.org/chatbot/meg/

 

 
  [ # 5 ]

Congratulations Bruce! That’s great news for the ChatScript community.

 

 
  [ # 6 ]

Do they use SitePal avatars and TTS?

 

 
  [ # 7 ]

if you look at the video, maybe you can judge. I think the answer is no on SitePal avatars, but I don’t really know.
They do text to speech, using Nuance.

 

 
  [ # 8 ]

They used to use Sitepal for their avatars, as I helped them set the avatars up. This was a while ago though and they may have changed now.

 

 
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