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All too human? Exploring human-likeness in speech interface design

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Aug 26

Date and time: 26 August 2022, 15:00 – 16:00 CEST (UTC +2)
Speaker: Benjamin Cowan, University College Dublin, Ireland
Title: All too human? Exploring human-likeness in speech interface design

Where: Digital Futures hub, Osquars Backe 5, floor 2 at KTH main campus


Meeting ID: 695 6088 7455
Password: 755440

Watch the recorded presentation:



Moderator: Donald McMillan, Stockholm University

Picture of Benjamin CowanAbstract: Speech interfaces are now commonly used through phones, laptops and smart speakers. Current speech interfaces fundamentally rely on human conversation as an interaction metaphor, using human-like design to support our interaction. My talk will explore how perceptions of human-likeness are multidimensional and whether human-like design helps or hinders our interaction with speech interfaces as we strive to develop more human-like systems and conversational capabilities.

Bio: Dr Benjamin R Cowan is an Associate Professor at University College Dublin’s School of Information & Communication Studies in Ireland. He completed his undergraduate studies in Psychology & Business Studies (2006) and his PhD in Usability Engineering (2011) at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

His research lies at the juncture between psychology, human-computer interaction and communication systems in investigating how design impacts aspects of user behaviour in social,
collaborative and communicative technology interactions.

Dr Cowan is the co-founder and co-director of the HCI@UCD group, one of Europe’s largest Human-Computer Interaction groups. He is also a Co-Principal investigator in the SFI-funded ADAPT Centre, a world-leading €90+ million Research Centre on AI-driven content technologies. He leads the Interaction and Control research strand. Dr Cowan is an ACM Professional Member and co-founder of the ACM SIGCHI International Conferences Series on Conversational User Interfaces (ACM CUI). He has also been involved in the ACM CHI conference, acting as Associate Chair (AC-2017-2018; 2021) and Subcommittee Chair (SC- 2022; 2023) of the Understanding People: Theory, Concepts, Methods Subcommittee.

Dr Cowan is currently Scholar in Residence at Digital Futures during August.