Chatbot Engine behind Alibaba’s AliMe Customer Service Bot

This article is part of the Academic Alibaba series and is taken from the paper entitled “AliMe: A Sequence-to-Sequence and Rerank-based Chatbot Engine”, accepted by ACL 2017. The full paper can be read here.

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Introducing AliMe, Alibaba’s Chatbot

AliMe, Alibaba’s e-commerce bot, services millions of customer queries a day, most in Chinese, but a good amount in English too. Hundreds of thousands of these are highly conversational, requiring the use of an open-domain chatbot engine that renders a better user experience.

How AliMe Differs and Holds Up

As an open-domain chatbot, AliMe integrates a hybrid approach based on IR and seq2seq generation models. It uses an attentive seq2seq-based re-rank model to optimize the joint results, outperforming standard IR and generation-based chatbots.

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The AliMe hybrid approach

What Comes Next

There’s still a long way to go before chatbots can rival the intelligence of those in science fiction and film. For now, the next step to explore is context, which determines multi-round interactions in dialog systems.

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