Sgt Blackwell - Cooper Hewitt

Sgt Blackwell was installed in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum's Best Design in America Triennial in December 2006 through much of 2007. Audio and log files from visitor interactions with Blackwell were collected, an estimated 500,000 utterances total.
Approximately 12,000 utterances have been transcribed and annotated with speaker data. Speakers were assigned a unique ID, and gender and whether child or adult was annotated. As many tourists came through the museum, there is a great variety of speech data. Speakers were identified as native vs. non-native, and annotated in broad groups of language variety and region, where those accents were distinguishable. Only 28% of the annotated data was from male Standard American English speakers, the typical population on which speech recognizers were trained. A sample of 1,000 utterances from 251 speakers was also annotated with topical dialogue act categories to determine users' conversational preferences in this environment.

Point of Contact

Virtual Characters

Sample Dialogues

Speaker100 [male, Standard American English]: what is your name

Blackwell: Sergeant Blackwell, 1-23rd Infantry - Virtual, sir.

Speaker100: where are you from soldier

Blackwell: Not to be too cocky - cause a lot of my technology is just starting to come on-line. But think of it this way: while I will never be able to do what real soldiers do, I can help my flesh and blood brethren learn how to better do their business out of the line of fire, so that they can be more capable and better prepared when they finally do get into it. They call it - taking the field into the classroom. And that is very Future Force, Army Transformation, Warfighter-centric.

Speaker100: where were you born

Blackwell: I grew up in a small town in Southern California. You may have heard of it: Los Angeles. Yeah I was a city slicker. But now I am Army all the way. And I have been just about everywhere there is to go: all around the USA, Lewis, Knox, Polk, Irwin and overseas too - Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Philippines. Too bad I do not get virtual frequent flyer miles.

Speaker100: what is your favorite color

Blackwell: I like red, white and blue. What's your favorite color?

Speaker100: what is your favorite movie

Blackwell: I joined up after seeing that movie - Saving Private Ryan - you know D-Day and World War II - and the sacrifice others had made for our freedoms. Figured I had something to give too.

Speaker100: what is your mission

Blackwell: They told me to just stand here and answer questions. So fire away.