With people living longer than ever, the number of cases with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or cognitive impairment increases steadily. In Spain it affects more than 1.2 million patients and it is estimated that in 2050 more than 100 million people will be affected. While there are not effective treatments for this terminal disease, therapies such as reminiscence, that stimulate memories of the patient’s past are recommended, as they encourage the communication and produce mental and emotional benefits on the patient. Currently, reminiscence therapy takes place in hospitals or residences, where the therapists are located. Since people that receive this therapy are old and may have mobility difficulties, we present an AI solution to guide older adults through reminiscence sessions by using their laptop or smartphone. 

Our solution consists in a generative dialogue system composed of two deep learning architectures to recognize image and text content. An Encoder-Decoder with Attention is trained to generate questions from photos provided by the user, which is composed of a pretrained Convolution Neural Network to encode the picture, and a Long Short-Term Memory to decode the image features and generate the question. The second architecture is a sequence-to-sequence model that provides feedback to engage the user in the conversation.

Thanks to the experiments, we realise that we obtain the best performance by training the dialogue model with Persona-Dataset and fine-tuning it with Cornell Movie-Dialogues dataset. Finally, we integrate Telegram as the interface for the user to interact with Elisabot, our trained conversational agent.

  • Master thesis of the MET program at UPC ETSETB TelecomBCN, presented on the 5th September 2019. Graded with 10.0/10.0 (A=Excellent).