I’m co-organizing a workshop on dialogue at NIPS 2016. NIPS is not a traditional forum for dialogue research, but there are increasing number of people (like myself!) in machine learning who are becoming interested in dialogue, so the time seemed right. From a personal perspective, dialogue is interesting because 1) it smells like AI, 2) recent advances in (deep learning) NLP techniques suggest the problem is more tractable and 3) corporate interest means both money and data will be plentiful. Honestly, the first point is very important: it was impossible to explain to my kids the minutiae on which I previously worked, whereas now I can show them videos like this. However, there are a lot of issues in dialogue that aren’t going to be demolished merely by using a flexible hypothesis class, so I felt the need to educate myself about the activities of veteran dialogue researchers, and the best way to ensure that was to organize a workshop and invite some of them.
Hopefully you’ll join the conversation.