Individualized Interaction in Discourse (IDDISC)

Humans adapt the content and form of their utterances to different interlocutors (students vs. colleagues vs. granny), and monitor the level of understanding in their conversational partner. Today's NLP systems are however largely blind with respect to individual variation in language comprehension, which in turn leads to misunderstandings and lack of naturalness in the interaction.

The vision of project IDDISC is to enable individualized language interaction with computer systems, such that information or explanations generated by a system will fit the user and the situation, by explicitly modelling their state of understanding. This project will break new ground by addressing individual differences in comprehension at the pragmatics and discourse level, i.e. with respect to the inferred meaning that goes beyond the literal meaning of an utterance. 

This project will make it possible to reduce the risk of misunderstandings, and enable adaptation of automatically generated language (e.g., explanations, summaries) to specific users. The new statistical methods and crowd-sourcing paradigms developed as part of this project will open the door to other researchers for investigating individual differences in all areas of language processing.