Peter van Beek, Robin Cohen, and Ken Schmidt. From plan critiquing to clarification dialogue for cooperative response generation. Computational Intelligence 9:132-154, 1993.


Recognizing the plan underlying a query aids in the generation of an appropriate response. In this paper, we address the problem of how to generate cooperative responses when the user's plan is ambiguous. We show that it is not always necessary to resolve the ambiguity, and provide a procedure that estimates whether the ambiguity matters to the task of formulating a response. The procedure makes use of the critiquing of possible plans and identifies plans with the same fault. We illustrate the process of critiquing with examples. If the ambiguity does matter, we propose to resolve the ambiguity by entering into a clarification dialogue with the user and provide a procedure that performs this task. Together, these procedures allow a question-answering system to take advantage of the interactive and collaborative nature of dialogue in order to recognize plans and resolve ambiguity. This work therefore presents a view of generation in advice-giving contexts which is different from the straightforward model of a passive selection of responses to questions asked by users. We also report on a trial implementation in a course-advising domain, which provides insights on the practicality of the procedures and directions for future research.

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