AI is learning to take your words less literally

This AI system learned how to associate different words by reading sentences from Wikipedia entries.

To help machines participate in more humanlike conversation, researchers are teaching AI to understand the meanings of words beyond their strict dictionary definitions.

HONOLULU — Artificial intelligence is starting to learn how to read between the lines.

Morency and colleagues designed an artificial intelligence system that watched YouTube clips to learn how nonverbal cues, like facial expressions and voice pitch, can affect the meaning of spoken words.

Morency next wants to test whether this kind of AI can recognize when someone’s facial expression and tone of voice are lacing their words with sarcasm.

Someone’s facial expression or intonation can significantly change the implication of their words, says Louis-Philippe Morency, an artificial intelligence researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

When it comes to conversational nuances like tone and idioms, AI still struggles to understand humans’ intent.

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