Affective dialogue processing
The purpose of the Affective Strategy Module (ASM) is to select an appropriate affective strategy based on the user's mood and generating corresponding complex, narrative utterances to positively influence this mood. The module operates largely as a Persuasive System, whose main topic would be coping. If compared to other Affective Dialogue Systems, the affective influence is restricted to specific dialogue turns, the long utterances generated by the ASM. This is in line with the conversational approach explored in the revised Companions prototype.
The ASM operates by first appraising the user's situation, considering the events reported by the user as part of the HWYD scenario and the (bi-modal) affective elements extracted from the same user input. From this appraisal, the ASM generates an influence strategy ultimately taking the form of a short speech (several utterances, each implementing communicative acts constitutive of the strategy). The ASM actually generates influence operators which are passed to the Natural Language Generation (NLG) module to produce the corresponding affective utterances.
The ASM accepts as input one (or more) Information Extraction template(s) describing office events, together with the emotional data attached to the corresponding utterance. The first step consists in accessing a Knowledge Base of such events which contain some encyclopedic information on default acors and default influences / outcomes for these events. The ASM is implemented using a Hierarchical Task Network (HTN) Planner. The first task consists in performing an appraisal of the situation (its affective nature and gravity as well as the appropriateness of the perceived user's emotional state).
The remainder of the plan is dedicated to the generation of an influence strategy. It consists in selecting appropriate communicative acts that construct a narrative response that fulfils the selected affective strategy. These communicative acts (performatives) are passed to the Natural Language Generation system and further to the Multimodal Fission Manager (MFM) which controls the ECA.