WikiTalk is a speech-based information access system that enables a robot to talk about thousands of different topics using information from Wikipedia. You can navigate in Wikipedia by speech to whatever topics you are interested in, and the robot tells you about them. The system anticipates what you will probably want to hear about next by extracting links to related topics in Wikipedia. If you say the name of a related topic, the robot switches to the new topic and starts talking about it. Predicting topic shifts like this allows the speech recognizer to listen for a much smaller vocabulary.
WikiTalk disambiguates between ambiguous topics using the changing dialogue context. For example in the Multilingual WikiTalk video below, the user twice asks to hear about "Julius Caesar". The first time, the system interprets it as referring to the play by Shakespeare, the second time as referring to the Roman emperor, according to the different dialogue contexts.
WikiTalk won an award in the Best Robot Design competition (Software Category) at the 9th International Conference on Social Robotics (ICSR 2017) in Tsukuba, Japan. More details are on the news page.
ERICA and WikiTalk (8 minutes)
WikiTalk was used with ERICA android robot in the ERATO Ishiguro Symbiotic Human-Robot Interaction project at Kyoto University, where Graham Wilcock was Visiting Professor in 2018-19. In the video ERICA talks about ancient Greek, robots, artificial intelligence, the concept of intelligence in medieval philosophy, and about male and female android robots.
Multilingual WikiTalk (14 minutes)
This video shows a robot talking about Shakespeare and other topics in English and Japanese, accessing English and Japanese Wikipedias. The robot switches languages to Japanese if you say "Nihongo" and to English if you say "English". The Japanese localization was made at Doshisha University.
What robots does it work on?
WikiTalk works on Nao robots. An experimental version works on ERICA at Kyoto University.
What languages are available?
WikiTalk currently works in English, Finnish and Japanese, using English, Finnish and Japanese Wikipedias.
What topics are available?
There is no restriction on the number of different topics the robot can talk about. Finnish Wikipedia has half a million different topics, Japanese Wikipedia has more than a million, and English Wikipedia has more than 5 million. As soon as a new article is added to Wikipedia the robot can talk about the topic, and whenever an article is updated the robot uses the latest version so the information is always up-to-date.