Turvy is a simulated prototype of an instructible agent. The
user teaches it by demonstrating actions and pointing at or talking about
relevant data. We formalized our assumptions about what could be implemented,
then used the Wizard of Oz to flesh out a design and observe users'
reactions as they taught several editing tasks. We found: a) all users
invent a similar set of commands to teach the agent; b) users learn the agent's
language by copying its speech; c) users teach simple tasks with ease and comple
x ones with reasonable effort; and d) agents cannot expect users to point
to or identify critical features without prompting.
In conducting this rather complex simulation, we learned some lessons
about using the Wizard of Oz to prototype intelligent agents: a)
design of the simulation benefits greatly from prior implementation
experience; b) the agent's behavior and dialog capabilities must be
based on formal models; c) studies of verbal discourse lead directly
to an implementable system; d) the designer benefits greatly by
becoming the Wizard; e) qualitative data is more valuable for
answering global concerns, while quantitative data validates accounts
and answers fine-grained questions.
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