Dan Bohus and Eric Horvitz
1 April 2009
We present an investigation of open-world dialog, centering on systems that can perform conversational dialog in an open-world context, where multiple people with different needs, goals, and long-term plans may enter, interact, and leave an environment. We outline and discuss a set of challenges and core competencies required for supporting the kind of fluid multiparty interaction that people expect when conversing and collaborating with other people. Then, we focus as a concrete example on the challenges faced by receptionists who field requests at the entries to corporate buildings. We review the subtleties and difficulties of creat-ing an automated receptionist that can work with people on solving their needs with the ease and etiquette expected from a human receptionist. Finally, we review details of the construction and operation of a working prototype.