In 2018-19, Graham Wilcock was Visiting Professor at Kyoto University, where he participated in the ERATO Ishiguro Symbiotic Human-Robot Interaction program which has developed ERICA, a highly realistic female android robot. The program partners are Osaka University (Prof. Hiroshi Ishiguro), Kyoto University (Prof. Tatsuya Kawahara) and ATR (Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute).
Researchers in Prof. Kawahara’s lab at Kyoto University have developed ERICA’s spoken dialogue interaction capabilities with roles such as attentive listening and a job interview scenario. Divesh Lala and Graham Wilcock added a new role, Wikipedia-based talking, in which ERICA and WikiTalk are combined. WikiTalk supports spoken information access from Wikipedia and smooth topic shifts to related topics, and ERICA’s speech capabilities (using Julius ASR) include large-vocabulary speech recognition and support for spoken dialogue barge-ins while ERICA is speaking.
The video shows ERICA talking fluently about a range of topics including ancient Greek, robots, artificial intelligence, intelligence in medieval philosophy, and androids.
A demo and a paper about ERICA and WikiTalk were presented at 28th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2019) in Macao, China.