In Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), a primary goal is to develop robotic agents that exhibit socially intelligent behaviour while interacting with human partners. Despite the clear relationship between social intelligence and fluent, flexible linguistic interaction, in practice few interactive robots employ anything beyond a simple, hard-coded process when generating linguistic output. On the other hand, in Natural Language Generation (NLG), the sub-area of computational linguistics dedicated to producing high-quality natural-language output, increasingly sophisticated methods have been developed for language production. However, while the interactive settings and dynamic environments provided by HRI open up interesting research problems in NLG, this connection has not been extensively researched.

The first workshop in this series, at the INLG 2018 conference, brought together members of the INLG and HRI research communities for a day of discussion and confirmed that there is mutual interest in exploring the possibilities of applying NLG techniques to problems drawn from HRI. At the current workshop, at the International Conference on Natural Language Generation, INLG 2020, we aim to bring those communities together again, this time with a concrete goal: to define one or more novel shared tasks, based on problems from HRI, that will allow NLG researchers to develop and compare techniques for generation in this space, and that will also allow HRI researchers to benefit from potentially higher-quality linguistic output in their applications.

The workshop will also be of potential interest to researchers from other fields that focus on ‘interaction’ such as spoken dialogue systems, intelligent virtual agents, or intelligent user interfaces.

We invite participants to submit short position papers (opinion pieces, challenge proposals, or current research; 2 pages + references) relevant to the overall topic of the workshop. These will be presented in the first session of the workshop. The second session will then be devoted to discussion of potential shared tasks; the discussion of the shared task will continue following the workshop, with the goal of submitting the task to the Shared Task track of the INLG 2021 conference.

Important Dates:

  • Submission deadline: September 15, 2020
  • Notification of acceptance: October 15, 2020
  • Registration info to follow.
  • Camera ready papers due: November 13, 2020
  • Workshop: virtual, December 18, 2020

Submission instructions

Position papers should be formatted using the ACM Master Article Template and not anonymised.


Hendrik Buschmeier, Mary Ellen Foster and Dimitra Gkatzia