Johanne Trippas is a PhD researcher in Computer Science at RMIT University. With the support from her supervisors, she works toward developing a sophisticated conversational search system.
Johanne: Is it going to rain today?
Johanne: My PhD research is looking into spoken conversational search. We have applications such as Siri, Google now and you can ask a question to your mobile phone and it will respond to you in voice.
Speaker 3: What's in a croissant?
Auto voice: The nine ingredients in a croissant are baker's yeast, butter ...
Johanne: The problem now is that the moment you ask a more difficult question, it can't answer to you.
Speaker 3: Read me the newspaper.
Johanne: It displays all the search results on the screen. This is not feasible for people with a vision impairment. So we need to find a way of how we can present those search results fully into audio without the screen.
My name is Johanne and I'm from Belgium, and I'm doing my PhD in computer science.
RMIT is actually one of the leading universities for research and search engines. I integrate space where I can do great research, but also with great supervisors that really encourage me to go beyond what is expected from me, which is really wonderful.
Well, being a PhD student means fun to me actually. I'm doing things that I like doing and I'm getting paid for it, which is just amazing. I think everybody should be able to do this.
One of the major issues for the conversational search systems is that we don't know how the conversation is structured between the user and the system, so this is actually kind of a role play.
Speaker 3: What can I do around here?
Auto voice: Would you like to know about arts, music, sports, food, shopping, nature, or other?
Johanne: So we call that a Wizard of Oz experiment.
Speaker 3: I'd like to go for a walk in a park.
Johanne: This is something we can use in real life to help people.
For me, it's really important the equality between people and being able to have the same accessibility to information. An equal opportunity to learn.
Johanne: Tell me about this place.
Johanne: To experience, to gain knowledge. I think that's just really important in life.
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