Paper: Switching to Real-Time Tasks in Multi-Tasking Dialogue

ACL ID C08-1129
Title Switching to Real-Time Tasks in Multi-Tasking Dialogue
Venue International Conference on Computational Linguistics
Session Main Conference
Year 2008

In this paper we describe an empirical study of human-human multi-tasking dia- logues (MTD), where people perform mul- tiple verbal tasks overlapped in time. We examined how conversants switch from the ongoing task to a real-time task. We found that 1) conversants use discourse markers and prosodic cues to signal task switch- ing, similar to how they signal topic shifts in single-tasking speech; 2) conversants strive to switch tasks at a less disruptive place; and 3) where they cannot, they ex- ert additional effort (even higher pitch) to signal the task switching. Our machine learning experiment also shows that task switching can be reliably recognized using discourse context and normalized pitch. These findings will provide guidelines for building future speech interfaces to sup- port mu...