Yahoo! – CMU InMind

Rapport-Building Personal Assistant on Mobile Devices


The Articulab is participating in the InMind project, a shared effort between CMU and Yahoo!, where we are designing and implementing the next next next generation of personal assistant virtual agents.

Our work focuses on creating an autonomous virtual personal assistant that will build long lasting relationships with people through managing rapport between them and itself.


Achieving Social and Task Goals

Leveraging our expertise and prior work in this area, we are designing and implementing computational models of rapport management as well as adaptive user and behavioral expectation models, specifically tuned to the social needs of our system. Culture, education, current location, emotional state, past interactions, professional and social contacts, among others, will all play a role in shaping the agent’s social behavior.


This social behavior will be guided by social goals, which are generated in response to the current input, for example “reciprocate action” as an attempt to increase coordination and lead to a higher feeling of rapport, or “small talk” to engage the user. Three main challenges related to managing rapport are: understanding how the user’s behavior affects rapport; deliberating about the agent’s next “social move”; and generating the agent’s behavior (content selection, verbal and non-verbal realization) in a way that builds, maintains or even breaks rapport.




InMind benefits from generous funding from a Yahoo/Oath InMind project grant.

See Other Projects

Alex Projects
RAPT (Rapport-Aligning Peer Tutor)
SARA: the Socially Aware Robot Assistant
Yahoo!-CMU InMind
Yahoo!-CMU InMind