Michael F. Mctear

Michael F. Mctear
Ulster University · School of Computing and Mathematics

About

186
Publications
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Publications

Publications (186)
Chapter
With life expectancy growing rapidly over the past century, societies are being increasingly faced with a need to find smart living solutions for elderly care and active ageing. The e-VITA project, which is a joint European (H2020) and Japanese (MIC) funded project, is based on an innovative approach to virtual coaching that addresses the crucial d...
Article
Full-text available
Digital technologies such as chatbots can be used in the field of mental health. In particular, chatbots can be used to support citizens living in sparsely populated areas who face problems such as poor access to mental health services, lack of 24/7 support, barriers to engagement, lack of age appropriate support and reductions in health budgets. T...
Chapter
Sociocognitive Language Processing (SCLP) is the idea of coping with everyday language, including slang and multi-lingual phrases and cultural aspects, and in particular, with irony/sarcasm/humour, and paralinguistic information such as the physical and mental state and traits of the dialogue partner (e.g., affect, age groups, personality dimension...
Chapter
Contemporary societies are comprised of individuals very diverse in terms of culture, status, gender and age. In this context, there is no single system behaviour that fits all users, not even considering the traditional “personalization” efforts of adaptable systems, in which individual users can explicitly tailor some system features to their nee...
Article
Full-text available
The objective of this study was to understand the attitudes of professionals who work in mental health regarding the use of conversational user interfaces, or chatbots, to support people’s mental health and wellbeing. This study involves an online survey to measure the awareness and attitudes of mental healthcare professionals and experts. The find...
Chapter
Mental health and mental wellbeing have become an important factor to many citizens navigating their way through their environment and in the work place. New technology solutions such as chatbots are potential channels for supporting and coaching users to maintain a good state of mental wellbeing. Chatbots have the added value of providing social c...
Chapter
Full-text available
Chatbots have become an increasingly popular choice for organisations in delivering services to users. Chatbots are beginning to become popular in mental health applications and are being seen as an accessible strategy in delivering mental health support alongside clinical/therapy treatment. The aim of this exploratory study was to investigate init...
Method
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PLEASE NOTE: There is NO "full-text" available for this tool. Please refer to the CUQ tool website for more information (see below): For details of the Chatbot Usability Questionnaire please refer to the Ulster University website: https://www.ulster.ac.uk/research/topic/computer-science/artificial-intelligence/projects/cuq
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular as a human-computer interface. The traditional best practices normally applied to User Experience (UX) design cannot easily be applied to chatbots, nor can conventional usability testing techniques guarantee accuracy. WeightMentor is a bespoke self-help motivational tool for weight loss maintenance. This s...
Chapter
The aim of this paper is to assess the usability of a chatbot for mental health care within a social enterprise. Chatbots are becoming more prevalent in our daily lives, as we can now use them to book flights, manage savings, and check the weather. Chatbots are increasingly being used in mental health care, with the emergence of “virtual therapists...
Article
Full-text available
This study set out to analyze questions about type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) from patients and the public. The aim was to better understand people’s information needs by starting with what they do not know, discovered through their own questions, rather than starting with what we know about T2DM and subsequently finding ways to communicate that in...
Data
Questions about cure or reversal. (DOCX)
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Chatbots have become a popular choice for organisations in delivering services and e-commerce to users through using natural language processing (NLP). The popularity of chatbots in mental health is increasing and is seen as an accessible approach to receiving mental health support along with clinical/therapy treatment. The aim of this paper is to...
Conference Paper
The conversational interface has become a hot topic in the past year or so, providing the primary means of interaction with chatbots, messaging apps, and virtual personal assistants. Major tech companies have been making huge investments in the supporting technologies of artificial intelligence, such as deep learning and natural language processing...
Article
When patients cannot get answers from health professionals or retain the information given, increasingly they search online for answers, with limited success. Researchers from the United States, Ireland, and the United Kingdom explored this problem for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). In 2014, patients attending an outpatient clinic (...
Presentation
Full-text available
Questions engage patients and foster good communication with health professionals. Consumer questions reveal gaps in knowledge that may guide public-health campaigns. But … •What do consumers (patients, family members, care-givers, general public) want to know about an illness or their health? •What do they not know? •How do they express their inf...
Poster
Full-text available
Background/Research Question Patient questions play a vital role in healthcare, engaging patients and fostering good communication with health professionals. Consumer questions play a crucial role in public-health prevention efforts, revealing gaps in knowledge that need to be met. For patients, evidence shows that literacy has an effect on the que...
Chapter
Conversational interfaces have a long history, starting in the 1960s with text-based dialog systems for question answering and chatbots that simulated casual conversation. Speech-based dialog systems began to appear in the late 1980s and spoken dialog technology became a key area of research within the speech and language communities. At the same t...
Chapter
When a user speaks to a conversational interface, the system has to be able to recognize what was said. The automatic speech recognition (ASR) component processes the acoustic signal that represents the spoken utterance and outputs a sequence of word hypotheses, thus transforming the speech into text. The other side of the coin is text-to-speech sy...
Chapter
Affect is a key factor in human conversation. It allows us to fully understand each other, be socially competent, and show that we care. As such, in order to build conversational interfaces that display credible and expressive behaviors, we should endow them with the capability to recognize, adapt to, and render emotion. In this chapter, we explain...
Chapter
In order to build artificial conversational interfaces that display behaviors that are credible and expressive, we should endow them with the capability to recognize, adapt to, and render emotion. In this chapter, we explain how the recognition of emotional aspects is managed within conversational interfaces, including modeling and representation,...
Chapter
There are a number of different open-source tools that allow developers to add speech input and output to their apps. In this chapter, we describe two different technologies that can be used for conversational systems, one for systems running on the Web and the other for systems running on mobile devices. For the Web, we will focus on the HTML5 Web...
Chapter
There is a wide range of tools that support various tasks in spoken language, some of which are particularly relevant for processing spoken language understanding in conversational interfaces. Here, the main task is to detect the user’s intent and to extract any further information that is required to understand the utterance. This chapter provides...
Chapter
One of the core aspects in the development of conversational interfaces is to design the dialog management strategy. The dialog management strategy defines the system’s conversational behaviors in response to user utterances and environmental states. The design of this strategy is usually carried out in industry by handcrafting dialog strategies th...
Chapter
There is a wide range of tools that support the generation of rule-based dialog managers for conversational interfaces. However, it is not as easy to find toolkits to develop statistical dialog managers based on reinforcement learning and/or corpus-based techniques. In this chapter, we have selected the VoiceXML standard to put into practice the ha...
Chapter
Once the dialog manager has interpreted the user’s input and decided how to respond, the next step for the conversational interface is to determine the content of the response and how best to express it. This stage is known as response generation (RG). The system’s verbal output is generated as a stretch of text and passed to the text-to-speech com...
Chapter
We are surrounded by a plethora of smart objects such as devices, wearables, virtual agents, and social robots that should help to make our life easier in many different ways by fulfilling various needs and requirements. A conversational interface is the best way to communicate with this wide range of smart objects. In this chapter, we cover the sp...
Chapter
Conversation is a natural and intuitive mode of interaction. As humans, we engage all the time in conversation without having to think about how conversation actually works. In this chapter, we examine the key features of conversational interaction that will inform us as we develop conversational interfaces for a range of smart devices. In particul...
Chapter
Conversational interfaces can be built using a variety of technologies. This chapter shows how to create a conversational interface using chatbot technology in which pattern matching is used to interpret the user’s input and templates are used to provide the system’s output. Numerous conversational interfaces have been built in this way, initially...
Chapter
When they first appeared, conversational systems were developed as speech-only interfaces accessible usually via landline phones. Currently, they are employed in a wide variety of devices such as smartphones and wearables, with different input and output capabilities. Traditional speech-based multimodal interfaces were designed for Web and desktop...
Chapter
The evaluation of conversational interfaces is a continuously evolving research area that encompasses a rich variety of methodologies, techniques, and tools. As conversational interfaces become more complex, their evaluation has become multifaceted. Furthermore, evaluation involves paying attention not only to the different components in isolation,...
Chapter
As a result of advances in technology, particularly in areas such as cognitive computing and deep learning, the conversational interface is becoming a reality. Given the vast number of devices that will be connected in the so-called Internet of Things, a uniform interface will be necessary both for users and for developers. We describe current deve...
Chapter
Conversational interfaces enable people to interact with smart devices using conversational spoken language. This book describes the technologies behind the conversational interface. Following a brief introduction, we describe the intended readership of the book and how the book is organized. The final section lists the apps and code that have been...
Chapter
With a conversational interface, people can speak to their smartphones and other smart devices in a natural way in order to obtain information, access Web services, issue commands, and engage in general chat. This chapter presents some examples of conversational interfaces and reviews technological advances that have made conversational interfaces...
Chapter
Spoken language understanding (SLU) involves taking the output of the speech recognition component and producing a representation of its meaning that can be used by the dialog manager (DM) to decide what to do next in the interaction. As systems have become more conversational, allowing the user to express their commands and queries in a more natur...
Book
This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the conversational interface, which is becoming the main mode of interaction with virtual personal assistants, smart devices, various types of wearables, and social robots. The book consists of four parts: Part I presents the background to conversational interfaces, examining past and present work...
Chapter
Computer technology has been reported to pose significant usability problems for older users. Further usability problems have been encountered with small, mobile computing devices due to their size as well as age-related declines. This chapter focuses on the usability of mobile computing devices for older people by first employing target users in a...
Conference Paper
As life expectancy increases it has become more necessary to find ways to support healthy ageing. A number of active ageing initiatives are being developed nowadays to foster healthy habits in the population. This paper presents our contribution to these initiatives in the form of a conversational agent that acts as a coach for physical activities....
Article
This paper details a knowledge-based Technology Transfer Framework which attempts to ameliorate the transfer of technology between differing user communities through the use of knowledge-based authoring and browsing facilities. In contrast to current techniques, the system incorporates a large corpus of domain knowledge in a central and easily acce...
Article
This paper is concerned with the implications of recent work in cognitive science for the study of human-computer interaction. One feature of the communicative competence of humans is their ability to take the perspective of their listeners. The computer counterpart of this ability — user modelling for intelligent tutoring systems — is examined and...
Article
Spoken dialogue technology has developed considerably over the past thirty years both in terms of research activity as well as in terms of commercially deployed applications. This chapter presents an overview of trends in dialogue research based on an analysis of papers that were presented at Eurospeech- Interspeech conferences in 1989, 1999, and 2...
Article
This chapter reviews the role of spoken dialogue in such environments. It begins by describing and comparing the functions and technical characteristics of different spoken dialogue applications, including voice control, call routing, voice search, and question answering. This is followed by a review of recent research that illustrates the current...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Spoken dialogue systems, Autonomous preference learning, User feedback, Human-computer interaction. We present an enhanced method for user feedback in an autonomous learning system that includes a spoken dialogue system to manage the interactions between the users and the system. By means of a rule-based natural language understanding module and a...
Conference Paper
In this paper, we present a technique for learning new dialog strategies by using a statistical dialog manager that is trained from a dialog corpus. A dialog simulation technique has been developed to acquire data required to train the dialog model and then explore new dialog strategies. A set of measures has also been defined to evaluate the dialo...
Chapter
In this chapter, we take a closer look at some systems and system frameworks that implement and extend the various dialogue control strategies and models introduced in Chapter 2. We begin with Information State Theory, which is an influential method for representing complex information in the Dialogue Context Model. After this, we present an exampl...
Chapter
There are two main types of spoken dialogue systems: task-oriented and nontask-oriented. Taskoriented systems involve the use of dialogues to accomplish a task, which may be a fairly simple and well-defined task such as making a hotel booking, or a more complex task involving planning and reasoning, such as planning a family holiday, negotiating a...
Chapter
The Dialogue Manager (DM) is the central component of a spoken dialogue system, controlling the interaction with the user and communicating with external knowledge sources. Dialogue management is often viewed in terms of two subcomponents: dialogue control, which deals with the flow of control in the dialogue, and dialogue context modeling, which i...
Chapter
Dialogue technology has developed to a level where practical interactive systems can be built and deployed commercially. However, in order to increase the naturalness and flexibility of the interaction, researchers in spoken dialogue technology are addressing the challenges posed by systems that display more intelligent conversational capabilities....
Chapter
The preceding chapters have presented an overview of spoken dialogue systems and have examined a range of different approaches and methods that are currently in use within the research community. Chapter 1 provided a general introduction to the topic of spoken dialogue technology, looking at the components of a spoken dialogue system, presenting so...
Chapter
In this chapter, we focus on the evaluation of dialogue systems. We first present a short historical overview of the evaluation task in Section 6.1, and then discuss some concepts and definitions of evaluation approaches and data collection in Section 6.2. We then introduce different evaluation metrics in Section 6.3, and evaluation frameworks in S...
Chapter
Miscommunication can occur in any communicative interaction, so it is important that a spoken dialogue system should have mechanisms for detecting and dealing with errors given the impact that errors can have on dialogue performance. For example, in one study it was found that when the frequency of error was low, the impact on task success was mino...
Article
Full-text available
An Intelligent Environment is a physical space that becomes augmented with computation, communication and digital content, thus transcending the limits of direct human perception. Spoken dialogue is a key factor for user-friendly human-computer interaction. This article details how to integrate Spoken Dialogue Systems into Intelligent Environments....
Book
Full-text available
Considerable progress has been made in recent years in the development of dialogue systems that support robust and efficient human-machine interaction using spoken language. Spoken dialogue technology allows various interactive applications to be built and used for practical purposes, and research focuses on issues that aim to increase the system's...
Article
Full-text available
Reminiscence plays an important role in the lives of older adults (8). Many perfect the art of storytelling and enjoy its social benefits. The telling of stories of past events and experiences defines family identities and is an integral part of most cultures. Losing the ability to recollect past memories is not only disadvantageous, but can prove...
Article
Full-text available
We present the design of a spoken dialogue system to provide feedback to users of an autonomous system which can learn different patterns associated with user actions. Our speech interface allows users to verbally refine these patterns, giving the system his/her feedback about the accuracy of the actions learnt.We focus on improving the naturalness...
Article
This paper presents an overview of methods that can be used to collect and analyse data on user responses to spoken dialogue system components intended to increase human-likeness, and to evaluate how well the components succeed in reaching that goal. ...
Article
Full-text available
Semantics deals with the organization of meanings and the relations between sensory signs or symbols and what they denote or mean. Computational semantics performs a conceptualization of the world using computational processes for composing a meaning representation structure from available signs and their features present, for example, in words and...
Conference Paper
This paper reports on a collaborative project between clinicians at the Ulster Hospital and researchers at the University of Ulster to produce a Web-based system for monitoring patients with Type 2 diabetes. The typical method of recording measurements of weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure allows for minimal intervention for the consultants as...
Chapter
Miscommunication occurs frequently in any communicative interaction. Despite a long history of studies of miscommunication across a range of different disciplines, the focus in spoken dialogue technology has been almost exclusively on miscommunication caused by speech recognition errors. This chapter reviews approaches to miscommunication in severa...
Article
Full-text available
Mobile technologies have the potential to enhance the lives of older adults, especially those who experience a decline in cognitive abilities. However, diminutive devices often perplex the aged and many HCI problems exist. This paper discusses the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to develop intelligent algorithms which will (a) govern...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recent research in dialogue systems has investigated the feasibility of relying on information extracted from the Internet as a source of content and domain knowledge. However, this information needs to be processed and prepared into a form understandable by the dialogue manager. The number of domains and web sites are often restricted to a finite...
Article
This article describes how an object-oriented approach can be applied to the architectural design of a spoken language dialog system with the aim of facilitating the modification, extension, and reuse of discourse-related expertise. The architecture of the developed system is described and a functionally similar VoiceXML system is used to provide a...
Conference Paper
Summary form only given. Requirements for spoken language understanding for spoken dialog systems can range from the recognition of key words and phrases to a deeper understanding of the speaker's intentions. It is important to take account of the functional requirements of the overall system in order to determine the approaches and technologies th...
Article
Full-text available
Mobile technologies have the potential to enhance the lives of ageing users, especially those who experience a decline in cognitive abilities. However, diminutive devices often perplex the aged and many HCI problems exist. This paper discusses the proposal to investigate the usability of a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) as a mobile companion for...
Article
Full-text available
This paper proposes a new technique to test the performance of spoken dialogue systems by artificially simulating the behaviour of three types of user (very cooperative, coop- erative and not very cooperative) interacting with a system by means of spoken dialogues. Experiments using the technique were carried out to test the performance of a previo...
Article
Full-text available
A number of algorithms based on the use of either buckets or inverse rules have been proposed to address the problem of query rewriting using views. Some inverse rule-based algorithms have considered this problem in the presence of inclusion dependencies. However, no bucket-based algorithms have considered the influence from inclusion dependencies,...
Conference Paper
There are several algorithms for the problem of query rewriting using views, including the bucket-based algorithms and the inverse rule-based algorithms. The inverse rule-based algorithms have considered the problem in the presence of functional dependencies. However, there are few papers that consider the influences of functional dependencies from...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Existing dialogue systems typically use only one dialogue strategy: finite-state based, frame-based or agent-based. This paper describes research done on a dialogue manager (DM) that uses all three dialogue strategies. This DM can determine the most suitable dialogue strategy to be used according to circumstances, and change to a different strategy...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The escalating rise in chronic illnesses, coupled with the shift in population demographics and increasing sedentary lifestyle has placed current health resources under considerable strain. In order to extend care to a wider audience, methods for managing these patients via telecommunications technology should be safe, usable and affordable. This p...
Article
A number of different approaches have been applied to the treatment of errors in spoken dialogue systems, including careful design to prevent potential errors, methods for on-line error detection, and error recovery when errors have occurred and have been detected. The approach to error handling presented here is premised on the theory of grounding...
Article
We have developed a speech-based telemedicine system which enables patients with hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus to send frequent, home-monitored health data via the telephone to the point of care. The decision support module in the system was tested using data from a cohort of 10 patients generated over a two-year period. Results from th...