Advanced Conversational Recommender System

25 May, 2020 by NExT

Patent Name: An Advanced Conversational Recommender System Emphasizing on the Interaction Between Conversational Components and Recommender Components

Filing No: 10202000482X (SG)

Filing Date: 17 Jan 2020

Country to be Filed: SG

Description: A personalized conversational sales agent could have much commercial potential. E-commerce companies such as Amazon, eBay, JD, Alibaba etc. are piloting such kind of agents with their users. However, the research on this topic is very limited and existing solutions are either based on single round ad-hoc search engine or traditional multi round dialog system. They usually only utilize user inputs in the current session, ignoring users’ long term preferences. On the other hand, it is well known that sales conversion rate can be greatly improved based on recommender systems, which learn user preferences based on past purchasing behavior and optimize business oriented metrics such as conversion rate or expected revenue. In this work, we propose to integrate research in dialog systems and recommender systems into a novel and unified deep reinforcement learning framework to build a personalized conversational recommendation agent that optimizes a per session based utility function. In particular, we propose to represent a user conversation history as a semi-structured user query with facet-value pairs. This query is generated and updated by belief tracker that analyzes natural language utterances of user at each step. We propose a set of machine actions tailored for recommendation agents and train a deep policy network to decide which action (i.e. asking for the value of a facet or making a recommendation) the agent should take at each step. We train a personalized recommendation model that uses both the user’s past ratings and user query collected in the current conversational session when making rating predictions and generating recommendations. Such a conversational system often tries to collect user preferences by asking questions. Once enough user preference is collected, it makes personalized recommendations to the user. We perform both simulation experiments and real online user studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework.

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