Working with troubles and failures in conversation between humans and robots: workshop report

Frank Foerster, Marta Romeo, Patrick Holthaus, Luke Wood, Christian Dondrup, Joel E. Fischer, Farhana Ferdousi Liza, Sara Kaszuba, Julian Hough, Birthe Nesset, Daniel Hernández García, Dimosthenis Kontogiorgos, Jennifer Williams, Elif Ecem Özkan, Pepita Barnard, Gustavo Berumen, Dominic Price, Sue Cobb, Martina Wiltschko, Lucien TisserandMartin Porcheron, Manuel Giuliani, Gabriel Skantze, Patrick Healey, Ioannis Papaioannou, Dimitra Gkatzia, Saul Albert, Guanyu Huang, Vladislav Maraev, Epameinondas Kapetanios

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This paper summarizes the structure and findings from the first Workshop on Troubles and Failures in Conversations between Humans and Robots. The workshop was organized to bring together a small, interdisciplinary group of researchers working on miscommunication from two complementary perspectives. One group of technology-oriented researchers was made up of roboticists, Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) researchers and dialogue system experts. The second group involved experts from conversation analysis, cognitive science, and linguistics. Uniting both groups of researchers is the belief that communication failures between humans and machines need to be taken seriously and that a systematic analysis of such failures may open fruitful avenues in research beyond current practices to improve such systems, including both speech-centric and multimodal interfaces. This workshop represents a starting point for this endeavour.
The aim of the workshop was threefold: Firstly, to establish an interdisciplinary network of researchers that share a common interest in investigating communicative failures with a particular view towards robotic speech interfaces; secondly, to gain a partial overview of the “failure landscape” as experienced by roboticists and HRI researchers; and thirdly, to determine the potential for creating a robotic benchmark scenario for testing future speech interfaces with respect to the identified failures.
The present article summarizes both the "failure landscape" surveyed during the workshop as well as the outcomes of the attempt to define a benchmark scenario.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1202306
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalFrontiers in Robotics and AI
Early online date1 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023
EventWTF 2022: Working with Troubles and Failures in conversation between humans and robots - University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Jun 2022 → …


  • communicative failure
  • dialogue systems
  • human-robot interaction
  • multi-modal interaction
  • repair
  • speech interfaces


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