This past September, 10 university teams, from schools around the world, officially began their journey with the Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge 3. Teams spent part of their summer attending an intensive boot camp to learn what it means to be customer obsessed and how to integrate their ideas into the Alexa Prize infrastructure. Now ready to compete, teams have built an AI (called a socialbot), at scale, capable of conversing coherently and engagingly with humans for 20 minutes. Their socialbots should be able to discuss popular topics and news events such as entertainment, fashion, politics, sports, and technology.
Even as innovators create AI that can drive cars, play board games, and diagnose diseases, the seemingly intuitive task of everyday social conversation remains an elusive goal. Undaunted, the student teams have geared up to tackle the challenge. As they build their socialbots, they will encounter esoteric problems like context modeling and dialog planning as well as exoteric problems like user experience and conversational engagement. The Alexa Prize provides a unique opportunity for industry and academia to come together to address these challenges.
We invite you to join the students on their journey and help them along the way. You can interact with their socialbots simply by saying, “Alexa, let’s chat” on any Alexa-enabled device in the US-English marketplace. You will be connected to one of the 10 socialbots at random. Chat about your favorite topics, say “Stop” when you are done, and share your feedback.
It is still early days in this pioneering journey, and we know the teams will appreciate your help and patience as they learn, iterate, and build new interactive conversational experiences. The socialbots will improve quickly based on your use and feedback. We hope you’ll enjoy interacting with them.
The student teams are working hard, having fun, and well on their way to making history. We look forward to having you join the Alexa Prize community to support them along the way.