The artificial facilitator: guiding participants in developing causal maps using voice-activated personal assistant
Shivarama Reddy, Thrishma Reddy
Master of Science
MetadataShow full item record
When it comes to any problem, their causes, and solutions, people often have very different perspectives, primarily due to the environment in which they were raised (culture, education, socio-economic status, and so forth). Complex problems often require coordinated actions from all stakeholders to achieve a resolution. Agreeing on the same course of action can sometimes be difficult, as the stakeholders might have a different perspective of the specific problem. Causal map is a way to capture different perspectives people have about any situation. Thus, we posed the following research question - is it possible to use conver- sational artificial intelligence to capture and store the thought process of a particular problem? In this research, we have conducted an exper- iment which consisted of two parts: 1) developing a model for a voice- activated personal assistant that interacts, captures, and converts the responses of the participant into causal maps and 2) a detailed pre-test and post-test questionnaire that focuses on assessing interactions and willingness of the participants to collaborate with the developed model. We were able to build an Alexa skill that could successfully capture participants thought process and transform it into a causal map that could be analyzed along with data from other participants. The results of our pre-test and post-test surveys conducted with ten researchers who participated showed that they rated the Alexa skill as a useful tool for capturing the thought process of a problem. In our view, understanding the human thought process is crucial for stakeholders to agree on the same course of resolution. The research concludes with a discussion of future uses and limitations.