From analysis to finished product: ingredients for a chatbot

An Interview with Dr María González García, Computer Scientist at the DFKI

Dr María González García has been working at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in the field of language technology since April 2017. She carries out industrial projects for two large international companies. Their goal: the development of chatbots, starting with the analysis of the requisites up to the finished chatbot. But what are the necessary ingredients?


What does the Language Technology Lab do?

The aim of the Language Technology Lab is to develop and improve the use of human language by machines and to create and improve IT solutions in the field of language technology.


The DFKI creates Europe-wide standards. Why is this important?

Uniform standards are important because a solution based on standards secures the life of our projects and does not oblige us to stick to certain manufacturers.


What are you working on at the moment?

I'm developing a chatbot for a big international company. The bot helps with customer communication.


What are the ingredients for a digital assistant?

In short, there are four main ingredients: Firstly, an interface to interact with the wizard, secondly, a speech recognition service, thirdly, a domain-specific language such as HTML and fourthly, an end point to access the agent.


What are the strengths of Siri, Alexa and Co.?

The strengths of one assistant can be the weaknesses of another. For example, Google Home and Siri have a lot of customers in the area of mobile telephony, while Cortana has customers in the area of computers and laptops. In my opinion, Alexa's main strengths are her alliances with different manufacturers.


In Germany, women study fewer MINT subjects than men. What is it like in Spain?

I believe that it is more or less the same in both countries. Maybe the reasons for this are the familiar stereotypes, but I'm not sure. Nevertheless, at a professional level, the European Commission is trying to exert pressure to ensure that more women are recruited in technical areas.

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