Back to the Future: Lessons from Knowledge Engineering Methodologies for Chatbot Design and Development

Gillian Cameron, David Cameron, Gavin Megaw, RR Bond, Maurice Mulvenna, Siobhan O'Neill, C Armour, Michael McTear

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This paper explores the area of conversational user interfaces and chatbot development, focusing on the methodological aspects of development. The domain in this paper for chatbot development is healthcare. An increasing issue in chatbot development relates to the difficulty in eliciting specific domain knowledge. As chatbots become more ubiquitous in our daily lives with more complex use cases, the process of eliciting and codifying the domain knowledge has become more complex. This is a problem revisited; in the 1980’s, ‘expert systems’ grew rapidly in popularity and such systems required the same processes of elicitation and codification of human know-how or expertise as we now re-witness in modern chatbot development. A new area of ‘knowledge engineering’ developed from the expert systems or ‘knowledge-based systems’ field and from this several knowledge engineering methodologies emerged. The present paper revisits these methodologies and asks if there are lessons to be learned for chatbot design and development from such decades old knowledge engineering methods. The paper presents an amendment to a chatbot methodology, incorporating new stages of ‘knowledge gathering’ and ‘usability testing’ into the process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 32nd International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI-2018)
EditorsRaymond Bond, Maurice Mulvenna, Jonathan Wallace, Michaela Black
Place of PublicationSwindon, UK
PublisherBCS Learning & Development Ltd
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 10 May 2018
EventBritish HCI Conference 2018 - Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Duration: 2 Jul 20186 Jul 2018


ConferenceBritish HCI Conference 2018
Abbreviated titleBHCI2018
Country/TerritoryNorthern Ireland


  • AI
  • chatbots
  • knowledge engineering


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