Wizard of Oz

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Term used in the dialogue system area. The idea behind the Wizard of Oz technique is simple: a human (the wizard) plays the role of the computer in a simulated human-computer interaction. Also known as the "Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain" technique. By simulating components of a dialogue system, the WOZ technique may help to define a vocabulary, a grammar and a dialogue model. Furthermore, it can point out possible problems at an early stage. The WOZ technique can help to extend the understanding of what human computer speech dialogues would look like when implemented and running at a stage where these systems are still at the planning stage.

There are at least three requirements for the application of the Wizard of Oz technique: 
  1. It must be possible to simulate the future system, given human limitations.
  2. It must be possible to specify the future system's behaviour.
  3. It must be possible to make the simulation convincing.



  • Fraser, N.M. & Gilbert, G.N. 1991. Simulating speech systems, Computer Speech and Language, 5, 81-99
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