"Alexa, Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" Characterizing Playful Requests to Conversational Agents

Chen Shani, Alexander Libov, Sofia Tolmach, Liane Lewin-Eytan, Yoelle Maarek, Dafna Shahaf

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Conversational Agents (CAs) such as Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa are well-suited for task-oriented interactions ("Call Jason"), but other interaction types are often beyond their capabilities. One notable example is playful requests: for example, people ask their CAs personal questions ("What's your favorite color?") or joke with them, sometimes at their expense ("Find Nemo"). Failing to recognize playfulness causes user dissatisfaction and abandonment, destroying the precious rapport with the CA. Today, playful CA behavior is achieved through manually curated replies to hard-coded questions. We take a step towards understanding and scaling playfulness by characterizing playful opportunities. To map the problem's landscape, we draw inspiration from humor theories and analyze real user data. We present a taxonomy of playful requests and explore its prevalence in real Alexa traffic. We hope to inspire new avenues towards more human-like CAs.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationCHI 2022 - Extended Abstracts of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages423:1-423:7
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781450391566
DOIs
StatePublished - 27 Apr 2022
Event2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2022 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: 30 Apr 20225 May 2022

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

Conference

Conference2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online
Period30/04/225/05/22

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 ACM.

Keywords

  • Computational Humor
  • Computational Playfulness
  • Conversational Agents
  • Non-Task Requests
  • Virtual Assistants

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