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Talking Machines: Who Won This Year's Alexa Prize?

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members of Emory University's 2020 Alexa Prize winning team

The Emory team consisted of 11 graduate students and three undergraduates.

Credit: Emory University

A team of students from Emory University has won this year's $500,000 Alexa Prize from Amazon for advancing conversational artificial intelligence by designing innovative chatbots that Alexa customers can interact with through Alexa-enabled devices.

The contest tasks teams to design chatbots that achieve a composite score of 4.0 or higher out of a possible 5, based on whether at least two-thirds of their conversations in the final judgment round maintain coherence and engagement for 20 minutes. Emory University's Emora chatbot had a 3.81 average rating.

Amazon's Prem Natarajan said Emora attempts to detect a series of fine-grained topics expressed from personal experiences in the dialogue context, and apply this to gently change how responses are generated to affect a natural, conversational, and appropriate tone.

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