Human Users

So I went to the experiment yesterday, and there was definitely no track involved.  The consent form says that the purpose of the study was to collect dialogue data between human users and automatic dialogue systems and to evaluate the systems by investigating how they react to the human users’ behavior.  “Human users,” ha. ha. The consent form assures me the point of the study was not to evaluate human users.  But isn’t that just what they would say if this were some psych experiment where they were evaluating me?

I had tasks to do with the computer like trying to come up with ten different ways to ask the computer if I had any new tweets.  Try it. I ran out after like two.  One of the tasks was to talk to the computer without a script, like for twenty minutes, and outside they were listening and transcribing what I was saying.  I think they’re teaching the computer how to talk.  It was like a baby computer. That’s how my brother’s kids learned the expressions “play on player” and “suck it” just from listening. I felt flustered and just started asking the computer what songs it knew.  So I was asking it about bands, and types of music for most of the twenty minutes.

The people running the study were cool.  They came in the sound booth and asked me what I had been talking about.  It felt so embarrassing but also validating to voice unconscious chatter for twenty minutes while two people were really  listening hard outside the room.  They had spelling questions about the music I asked the computer about.  The guy in charge asked me about what Reggaeton was, and what the relationship between Reggae and Reggaeton was, and I said I didn’t know.  And then he said, one more thing, he said you like Jens Lekman? And I said yes. And he said have you seen him in person? And I said no, and the guy running the experiment said he helped to book his last show in Tokyo in a little club. He said he really liked Jens Lekman and that he was very gentle. I said I thought he was from Gothenburg and he said, yes, but now he’s living in Melbourne. I made 10,000 yen.

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