ava-ia
Agnostic virtual assistant
Last updated 3 years ago by soyjavi .
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The main purpose of AVA (Agnostic Virtual Assistant) is create a clever/fast assistant for any kind of context. This repository concerns the core of AVA so feel free for try in your NodeJS projects.

Nowadays we can find a lot of assistants, and more and more in the coming years, all of us know that Apps in the future will be more conversational and less click/action. For that reason our approach is create an agnostic and reusable system for help developers to create any kind of virtual assistants.

This is an Open Source project, so any help will be welcomed.

A little story about language processing... and how Ava works.

If you have never worked with assistants/bots then you have to know that we need to analyze a given input and give it a semantic value. To do this often use NLP, Natural Language Processing. AVA in its case incorporates its own NLP but as you will see later we can use either. For example:

"I need an appointment with the dentist tomorrow at 2pm in London"

AVA must understand your sentence and creates a sentence relations scenario like:

  • SUBJECT I
  • ACTION need
  • VALUE 1
  • OBJECT appointment
  • ITEM the dentist
  • WHEN Fri Jun 11 2016 14:00:00 GMT+0700 (ICT)
  • LOCATION London

Also gives you a contextual information:

  • LANGUAGE = en
  • TYPE = declarative
  • SENTIMENT = 0 (neutral)
  • CLASSIFIER = /travel/transit
  • PROFILE (If previously user has talked with AVA, returns a history)

Ava depends on how you set up, but the next step is to process all the intents set. An intent is nothing more than a set of rules for scenarios sentence relations and contextual information.

  • has LOCATION? yes, London
  • is negative SENTIMENT? no, is neutral
  • know WHEN? yes, tomorrow at 2pm

If any intent is successful, it will be assigned an action (or more) which will be returned to the user in answer mode.

  • Set an appointment in phone's calendar like ${ITEM} in ${LOCATION} on ${DATE}

And that is, :)

Installation

AVA can be installed as an npm package:

$ npm install --save ava-ia

Basic usage

import Ava from `ava-ia`;
import { weather, movie } from `ava-ia/lib/intents`;
import { forecastYahoo, forecastMSN, movieDB } from `ava-ia/lib/actions`;

// 1. New instance
const ava = new Ava({
  debug: true // If you want see intents/actions trace log.
});

// 2. Configure the intents
ava
  .intent(weather, [forecastYahoo, forecastMSN])
  .intent(movie, movieDB);

// 3. Chat with Ava
ava.listen('Do you know if tomorrow will rain in Bangkok?')
  .then(state => console.log(state))
  .catch(error => console.log(state))

Instance methods

intent()

The purpose of this method is to teach Ava about what kinds of things it can answer for you. As you read in the introduction the core of ava use Intents and Actions which are simple functions that receive a state and return it with an internal composition.

The method intent is chainable that means you can attach all the intents you need, more intents means Ava is more clever ????. This method takes two parameters:

  • intent: the function you wanna attach
  • actions: an action function (or Array of functions) those will call if the intent is is satisfactorily resolved.
import { weather } from `ava-ia/lib/intents`;
import { forecastYahoo } from `ava-ia/lib/actions`;

ava.intent(weather, forecastYahoo);

If we want attach two actions for the same intent just write:

import { forecastYahoo, forecastMSN } from `ava-ia/lib/actions`;

ava.intent(weather, [forecastYahoo, forecastMSN]);

Ava will wait for the first successful action, that means it's like a race between the actions of a determinate intent and wins which finish first. If you wanna create a chain of intents it's quite easy:

import { weather, movie } from `ava-ia/lib/intents`;
import { forecastYahoo, movieDB } from `ava-ia/lib/actions`;

ava
  .intent(weather, forecastYahoo)
  .intent(movie, movieDB);

listen()

The purpose of this method is talk with Ava. Just receive an string parameter and returns a Promise:

ava.listen('Do you know if tomorrow will rain in Bangkok?')
  .then(state => console.log(state))
  .catch(error => console.log(state))

If the promise is successful it will return a object with the state which contains the result of the processor and intents. The attributes of the state are:

  • rawSentence: contains an string with the origin sentence.
  • language: contains an string ISO code for language (cca2) of the sentence.
  • sentence: contains an string sentence translated to english
  • taxonomy: If config.json contains your AlchemyAPI code containing an array of taxonomies.
  • classifier: contains an array of terms for identify the sense of the sentence.
  • type: declarative, interrogative or exclamative sentence.
  • topics: contains an array of most important terms of the sentence.
  • tokens: contains an array of rooted terms.
  • relations: contains an object with the sentence relations:
    • subject
    • adverb
    • action
    • object
    • when
    • location
    • value
  • sentiment: contains an number being -5 most negative , 0 neutral and +5 most positive.

The most important attribute of state is action which contains an object with:

  • engine: a string with the name of the action
  • ms: contains the number of miliseconds waisted for resolve the action.
  • entity: a string describing the type of content of the action.
  • title: a string
  • text: a string (optional).
  • value: a object with explicit information about the content (optional).
  • image: a stringURL (optional).
  • url: a url with contains more info (optional).
  • related: a object with extra information (optional).
  • date: a date (optional).

In the case that Ava can't find a action for our sentence it will return an error that we can capture in the catch method.

Extend Ava with new Intents & Actions

Extending Ava is quite easy, as you know all predefined Intents & Actions are stateless functions. So if you respect the input interface you can create your own Ava easily, lets see how.

Create a new Intent

Remember that when we set an intent in a determinate Ava instance we only need code:

import intentName from './intentName.js';

ava.intent(intentName, action);

Ava will process your intent definition and will queue it on intents list to execute. But... what is your intent definition?, well you will receive two parameters:

  • state: the actual object state.
  • actions: a array of actions to execute if intent is successful.

Lets see the basic definition of your intent:

intentName.js

import { resolve } from 'ava-ia/lib/helpers'

export default (state, actions) => {
  resolve(state);
};

All intents must be resolved with the state (like a promise) but maybe your function it isn't a promise (async) for that reason we build the helper resolve. Just call it and your intent will be part of the factory of intents. Now we will see a complete example, our intent will:

  • check if a list of terms are part of state attributes tokens and classifier
  • check if the sentence has a specific syntax
'use strict';

import { factoryActions, intersect, syntax, resolve } from 'ava-ia/lib/helpers'
// -- Internal
const TERMS = [ 'film', 'movie' ];
const RULES = [
  '[Person] want see [Noun]',
];

export default (state, actions) => {
  const tokens = intersect(TERMS, state.tokens);
  const classifiers = intersect(TERMS, state.classifier);
  const match = syntax(state.sentence, RULES);

  if (tokens || classifiers || match) {
    return factoryActions(state, actions);
  } else {
    return resolve(state);
  }
};

As you can see, if we have tokens, or classifiers or match fulfilled we will call to our actions using the helper factoryActions. Easy right?

Create a new Action

Build your own actions is quite easy, like intents is just create a stateless function. Actions functions only receive one parameter:

  • state: the actual object state.

successful functions have two ways for communicate the action:

  • return method for sync functions
  • resolve Promise method for async functions

So the easiest and basic example could be:

export default (state) => {
  state.action = { value: 'Hello world!' };
  return (state);
}

As you can see we just create the attribute action and return the state to Ava. But life sometimes is more difficult, so now we will create an async Action which will request something to a external data source:

import { entities } from 'ava-ia/lib/helpers'

export default (state) => {

  return new Promise( async (resolve, reject) => {
    response = await externalDataSource( {tokens: state.tokens} );

    state.action = {
      engine: 'mock',
      type: entities.knowledge,
      value: response.value
    };

    resolve(state);
  });
}

In this example we use resolve method 'cause we are inside a Promise, as you see still being easy create any kind of actions.

Mastering in Ava

If you wanna learn more about Ava internals please take a look to our wiki. Feel free to offer new features, improvements or anything you can think of. This project makes sense with your participation and experience using Ava.

Support

Funding

This software is provided to you as open source, free of charge. The time and effort to develop and maintain this project is dedicated by @soyjavi. If you (or your employer) benefit from this project, please consider a financial contribution. Your contribution helps continue the efforts that produce this and other open source software.

Funds are accepted via PayPal, any amount is appreciated.

License

Copyright (c) 2016 Javier Jimenez Villar

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NON INFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

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