Learning Dialogue Strategies from Older and Younger Simulated Users

Kallirroi Georgila1,  Maria Wolters2,  Johanna Moore2
1Institute for Creative Technologies, University of Southern California, 2School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh


Older adults are a challenging user group because their behaviour can be highly variable. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study where dialogue strategies are learned and evaluated with both simulated younger users and simulated older users. The simulated users were derived from a corpus of interactions with a strict system-initiative spoken dialogue system (SDS). Learning from simulated younger users leads to a policy which is close to one of the dialogue strategies of the underlying SDS, while the simulated older users allow us to learn more flexible dialogue strategies that accommodate mixed initiative. We conclude that simulated users are a useful technique for modelling the behaviour of new user groups.