Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge 4 Official Rules
The Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge 4 (the “Competition”) is a skill competition sponsored by Amazon.com Services LLC (“Sponsor”), where competing teams of college or university students build a conversational Alexa skill using the Alexa Skills Kit APIs that converses with users on popular topics and current events via Amazon Alexa (a “Socialbot”). Selected finalists (as outlined below) will have their Socialbots compete in an event scheduled to take place in July 2021, with the final results announced in August 2021. See below for the complete Competition details.
By applying to or participating in the Competition, you agree to these Official Rules. Please read them carefully.
COMPETITION CALENDAR: The Competition starts on November 9, 2020 and ends in July 2021 the "Competition Period"). The Competition phases are noted in the calendar below. The dates are approximate and are subject to change at Sponsor’s discretion.
|PHASES||STARTS ON:||ENDS ON:|
|PHASE 1:Participant Application Period||September 9, 2020||October 23, 2020 at
11:59 PM PT
|PHASE 2: Sponsor Application Review Period||October 24, 2020||October 30, 2020|
|PHASE 3: Participant Notification Period/Onboarding||Between October 31 and November 6, 2020|
|PHASE 4: Initial Skills Development Period||November 9, 2020||December 18, 2020 at
11:59 PM PT
|PHASE 5: Skill Certification Period||December 21, 2020||December 30, 2020|
|PHASE 6: Internal Amazon Beta Period||January 4, 2021||January 15, 2021|
|PHASE 7: Initial Feedback Period||January 18, 2021||February 26, 2021|
|PHASE 8: Quarterfinals Interaction Period||March 2, 2021||April 30, 2021|
|PHASE 9: Semifinals Interaction Period||May 4, 2021||June 25, 2021|
|PHASE 10: Additional Feedback Phase||July 5, 2021||July 23, 2021|
|PHASE 11: Finals Event||July 2021|
|WINNERS ANNOUNCED||August 2021|
ELIGIBILITY: To be eligible to enter the Competition, you must: (1) be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or post-graduate student at an accredited college or university (other than colleges or universities located in any of the restricted jurisdictions outlined below) (“Universities”) and remain a full-time student in good standing at such University while participating in the Competition; (2) be at or above the age of majority in your country, state, province or jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry; and (3) not be a person or entity under U.S. export controls or sanctions. Competition is void in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, the region of Crimea, and where prohibited by law. People who, during the Competition Period, are directors, officers, employees, interns, and contractors (“Personnel”) of Sponsor, its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, and their respective advertising, promotion and public relations agencies, representatives, and agents (collectively, “Competition Entities”), immediate families members of such Personnel (parents, siblings, children, spouses, and life partners of each) and members of the households of such Personnel (whether related or not) are ineligible to participate in this Competition. Sponsor reserves the right to verify eligibility and to adjudicate on any dispute at any time.
Entrants (“Entrants”) must enter as part of an “Entrant Team” consisting of one or more students from a single University. An Entrant is only permitted to be part of one Entrant Team. Any Entrant that is part of more than one Entrant Team may be disqualified and his/her corresponding Entrant Teams may be disqualified as well at the sole discretion of Sponsor. Only one member of the Entrant Team may submit an application on behalf of an Entrant Team but all those listed on the application will be deemed Entrants. All prize money payable to Entrant Teams will be split evenly among the members of a winning Entrant Team (based on the pre-tax amount of prize money), as identified in the application, as updated as permitted by these Official Rules, and who maintain full-time student status in good standing at their University during the entire Competition Period. Each team must select a faculty advisor, who will act as the official representative for the Entrant Team’s University (the “Faculty Advisor”). Faculty Advisors are not members of the Entrant Team and will not receive any portion of any prize. Faculty Advisors must remain full time employees of the Entrant Team University during the entire Competition Period. During the Competition, but no later than April 30, 2021, the Faculty Advisor may request to remove members from the Entrant Team or to add additional members to the Entrant Team, along with an explanation of the reason for the removal or addition. Such changes to the Entrant Team may be made subject to Sponsor’s approval in its sole discretion and the new member providing documentation requested by Sponsor and agreeing to comply with these Official Rules. Each Entrant must be eligible to participate in this Competition and comply with these Official Rules or the Entrant will and the Entrant Team associated with the Entrant in question may be disqualified. This Competition is subject to all applicable federal, state, territorial, provincial and local laws. Competition is void where prohibited. By participating in the Competition, all Entrants unconditionally accept and agree to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor which will be final and binding including the Sponsor’s right to verify eligibility, to interpret these Official Rules, and to resolve any disputes relating to this Competition at any time. Only Entrants may work on the Socialbot, although members of the Alexa team may provide support to the Entrant Team during the Competition Period, and the Faculty Advisor, and other students and faculty members at the Entrant Team’s University may provide support and advice to the Entrant Teams and may co-author the Technical Article (as defined below) or other research papers.
DESCRIPTION OF COMPETITION PHASES:
PHASE 1 “Participant Application Period”: Between September 9, 2020 and October 6, 2020, the leader of each Entrant Team that wishes to enter the Competition may visit https://developer.amazon.com/alexaprize (“Competition Site”) where they may submit their entry information via the YouNoodle, Inc. (“YouNoodle”) application portal, including, but not limited to: complete names, contact information and resumes of all Entrant Team members, proof of University enrolled status (e.g., verification of enrollment or an uploaded copy of Entrants’ student IDs), name and contact information of a sponsoring Faculty Advisor from the Entrant Team’s University, and bio for each Entrant Team member. Also, each Entrant Team will be required to complete the following questions:
- What is your team’s vision for your Socialbot? How do you want your customers to feel at the end of an interaction with your socialbot? How would your team measure success in competition?
- Please share a sample interaction/conversation you expect your Socialbot to achieve by the end of the Competition.
- Describe, in detail, your scientific approach along with the related system architecture. Plan for operating at scale when you define the architecture. (2 page PDF structured as a technical paper, architecture diagram with 1 additional page for visual or text explanation of key components and data flow).
- What is novel about the team’s approach? (This may be completely new approach or novel combination of known techniques).
- How do you think your work will impact the field of Conversational AI?
- Please attach an overview of the primary roles, subject matter expertise, and focus/specialty of each of your team members. (1 page)
- Please provide a summary of the technical work/research (relevant to your proposed architecture), yours or others’, that you will leverage and how.
- How will you ensure you create an experience users find engaging?
Entry Applications may be submitted at any time during the Participant Application Period. Only one individual per Entrant Team will be responsible for visiting the Competition Site and submitting an Entry Application on behalf of his/her Entrant Team. Other members of the Entrant Team must accept the invitation to join the team via the YouNoodle application portal. All Entrants must create an account with YouNoodle if they have not done so already in order to submit an Entry Application or accept an invitation to join an Entrant Team and participate in the Competition. Creating and maintaining a YouNoodle account is free of charge. All Entry Applications must be complete when the Participant Application Period closes at 11:59 pm Pacific Time on September 15, 2020. Entry Applications are not complete until all the online prompts and instructions to upload the Entry Application have been properly followed, the Official Rules have been affirmatively accepted, and all Entrant Team members and the Faculty Advisor have accepted their invitations to join the Entrant Team via the YouNoodle application portal. Entry Applications may not be revised once submitted. Entry Applications will not be returned and become the property of the Sponsor.
Entry Terms: Determination of compliance with entry and other requirements and these Official Rules will be in the sole discretion of the Sponsor. By entering, Entrants warrant that:
- entries are the original work of the Entrant Team or an update to an original work of the Entrant Team;
- entries do not infringe or violate the rights of any third party, including but not limited to, copyrights, trademarks or copyrighted material not owned by the Entrant Team, contract and licensing rights, rights of publicity or privacy, moral rights, or any other intellectual property rights; and
- entries are not subject to any third party agreements, and that Sponsor will not be required to pay or incur any sums to any person or entity as a result of its exercise of any rights granted under these Official Rules.
Entrant Teams must submit their Socialbots via Sponsor’s Developer Portal, and in doing so must agree to the Amazon Developer Services Agreement (“Developer Agreement”). Socialbots must comply with the terms applicable to “Alexa Skills” in the Developer Agreement, as updated from time to time, including the content guidelines and all other Program Policies (as defined in the Developer Agreement). Socialbots that cause any harm, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion, will be disqualified from the Competition. Questionable designs or content must be cleared with Sponsor prior to being deployed in a Socialbot. All Socialbots must interact with users using only the English language. Socialbots may not request any personal data or personally identifiable information from Alexa users. All Entrant Teams must host their Socialbots using Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) Lambda, and in doing so must agree to the terms of the AWS Customer Agreement, as updated from time to time. However, Entrant Teams may use other frameworks or web services to build their Socialbot, and Socialbots may make external calls to other services during run-time execution.
During all phases of the Competition, Sponsor may in its sole discretion require all Entrant Teams to provide periodic status updates, reports or demonstrations of the Socialbots. Sponsor may also require all Entrant Teams to comply with additional rules, requirements, or procedures that Sponsor determines, in its sole discretion, are necessary for the administration of the Competition. Sponsor may in its sole discretion penalize teams for noncompliance with any rules, requirements, or procedures, up to and including disqualification from the Competition.
Sponsor may also in its sole discretion require all Socialbots to adhere to requirements designed to ensure that Socialbots are focused on the goal of advancing conversational artificial intelligence, and to ensure a positive experience for Alexa customers using the Socialbot. Such requirements may include limitations on interactions that do not advance social conversations on popular topics and current events, such as repetitive and patterned interactions like consecutive turns of jokes or quiz questions, or prohibitions on Socialbots giving offensive responses to customers. Sponsor may determine any appropriate penalties for noncompliance with those requirements, including temporary suspension of the Socialbot, disregarding ratings for interactions that are non-compliant with such policies, or disqualification from the Competition.
Sponsor may provide Entrants selected to participate in the Competition access to software, software development kits, libraries, APIs, documentation, sample code, templates, data sets, and related materials (“Program Materials”) that may be used in connection with the Competition. If an Entrant uses any Program Materials, he or she is subject to and agrees to comply with Sponsor’s Program Materials License Agreement, as updated from time to time. Program Materials may include APIs, data sets, and other materials that are not public (“Non-Public Materials”). Entrant Teams whose Socialbots are made available on Alexa will also receive automatic speech recognition text transcriptions and other data (e.g., confidence scores) relating to Alexa user interactions with Entrant Team’s Socialbot (“Interaction Data”). Each Entrant (and each Faculty Advisor) agrees that he or she will not disclose Non-Public Materials or Interaction Data to anyone other than other members of the Entrant Team and the Entrant Team’s Faculty Advisor without Amazon’s prior written consent. Each Entrant (and each Faculty Advisor) also agrees that he or she will use Non-Public Materials and Interaction Data only in connection with the development and operation of (a) a Socialbot as part of the Competition and in compliance with these Official Rules and (b) following the completion of the Competition Period, a Socialbot or related bot operating as a stand-alone Alexa skill. Entrants (and Faculty Advisors) may not use Non-Public Materials or Interaction Data for any other purpose. Prior to the conclusion of the Competition Period, Entrants may not publish their Socialbot as a stand-alone Alexa Skill or use the Non-Public Materials or Interaction Data to operate the Socialbot as a stand-alone Alexa Skill or in connection with other Alexa skills. Entrants (and Faculty Advisors) must return or destroy all Non-Public Materials and Interaction Data (in any form and including, without limitation, all summaries, copies and excerpts of the same) promptly following any request from Sponsor, or if the Entrant Team discontinues the development or operation of its Socialbot. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to impose additional terms and conditions on the use of Program Materials, and to condition access to Program Materials on Entrants’ agreement to those terms and conditions.
PHASE 2 “Sponsor Application Review Period”: From October 7, 2020 to October 21, 2020 all eligible Entry Applications will be reviewed by a panel of judges chosen by the Sponsor.
Ten Entrant Teams determined by Sponsor according to the criteria described below will be chosen to participate in the Initial Skills Development Period described below. If the University and Faculty Advisor for the team that won the 2020 First-Place Prize from the Alexa Prize Grand Challenge 3 Competition elect to participate in the Competition, that Entrant Team will automatically be selected to participate in the Initial Skills Development Period and only nine other Entrant Teams will be chosen to participate in the Initial Skills Development Period. To select the remaining Entrant Teams chosen to advance to the Initial Skills Development Period, Sponsor will review each of the Entry Applications using the following criteria:
- The potential scientific contribution to the field;
- The technical merit of the approach;
- The novelty of the idea; and
- An assessment of the Entrant Team’s ability to execute against their plan.
PHASE 3 “Participant Notification Period”: Leaders of Entrant Teams that have submitted Entry Applications and have been selected by Sponsor to participate in the Competition will be notified by email at the email address provided at time of Entry Application between October 22 and November 6, 2020. Entrant Teams acknowledge that some Entrants and Faculty Advisors may have participated in previous iterations of the Alexa Prize competition.
Stipends: Each Entrant Team selected to participate in the Initial Skills Development Period will be eligible to receive a stipend award of $250,000 U.S. dollars (in any number of installments as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion), which will be awarded to the Universities of the selected Entrant Teams in the form of restricted research grants. For the sake of clarity, these stipends will be awarded to the Universities and not the Entrant Teams or any individual Entrant, and will be subject to the University signing and returning any documents required by Sponsor (including IRS forms W-9 and/or W-8) and to the University agreeing in writing that no more than 35% of the research grants may be allocated to administrative fees. Entrant Teams will not be eligible to begin participating in the Competition until all required documentation has been completed by the University. The grants will be awarded to support two full-time students or the equivalent of two full-time students for the duration of the Competition and one month of the Faculty Advisor’s salary. Each University will be responsible for allocating and managing the funds within these guidelines and for payment and reporting of any required taxes, withholdings, fees or duties. Sponsor is not responsible for ensuring all or any portion of stipend research grants are distributed to Entrants. Each member of an Entrant Team whose University receives a stipend award, and its Faculty Advisor, will also receive Alexa-enabled devices (up to a maximum of four devices per Entrant Team, including the device provided to the Faculty Advisor), free AWS services to support the development of their Socialbot (subject to reasonable limitations set by Sponsor), and support from the Alexa team as determined by Sponsor. Sponsor reserves the right to put reasonable limits on the amount of free AWS services it provides to sponsored Entrant Teams.
Stipends are non-transferable except as directed by Sponsor. No stipend substitutions or cash redemptions are allowed except as designed by Sponsor. Except where prohibited by law, all federal, state, provincial or other tax liabilities or withholdings are the responsibility of the University and the Sponsor will not be responsible for any tax deductions which may be necessary, except that Sponsor may withhold taxes as required by law. Universities are responsible for any costs and expenses associated with stipend acceptance and use. If an Entrant Team withdraws from the Competition or does not remain compliant with these Official Rules, Sponsor will be relieved of any obligation to pay any remaining portion of the stipend to the Entrant Team’s University. All details of stipend not specified herein shall be determined solely by Sponsor.
PHASE 4 “Initial Skills Development Period”: From November 9, 2020 through December 18, 2020, Entrant Teams will develop their Socialbot. Entrant Teams may include students and faculty advisors from teams that competed in prior Alexa Prize competitions (“Prior Year Teams”), and those teams may utilize and incorporate any concepts, works, inventions, information, designs, programs, or software created by Prior Year Teams, provided that the Entrant Teams have obtained all of the rights, licenses, and permissions in writing from any person who may have helped create the Socialbot or that are otherwise necessary for the Entrant Team to distribute the Socialbot and to grant the licenses set forth in these Official Rules and in the Developer Agreement. Any Entrant Team may incorporate concepts, works, inventions, information or designs described by any Prior Year Team in its published technical articles. Entrant Teams must submit their Socialbot to Sponsor for certification no later than 11:59 pm Pacific Time on December 18, 2020.
PHASE 5 “Skill Certification Period”: From December 21, 2020 through December 30, 2020, Entrant Teams must revise their Socialbots in response to feedback from Sponsor to ensure that their skills are certified prior to being made available to customers using the Alexa service. Socialbots must pass certification in order to be eligible to participate in a closed beta program to employees of Sponsor (the “Beta Program”).
PHASE 6 “Internal Amazon Beta Period”: Beginning on January 4, 2021, Socialbots that have passed certification will be made available via the Beta Program. Each Socialbot’s Interaction Ratings (as defined below) collected through the Beta Program will be provided to the Entrant Team. Entrant Teams may continue to improve their Socialbots throughout the Internal Amazon Beta Period. Sponsor may impose criteria, including but not limited to a minimum mean Interaction Rating, uptime requirements, and ability to filter offensive content (the “Availability Criteria”), that a Socialbot must meet in order to exit the Beta Program and be made available to Amazon customers through an Alexa Skill operated by Sponsor that allows users to interact with Socialbots (the “Alexa Prize Skill”).
PHASE 7 “Initial Feedback Period”: From January 18, 2021 through February 26, 2021, Socialbots that have passed certification and that have met all Availability Criteria will be made available to Alexa users through the Alexa Prize Skill, as described below. Sponsor may require Socialbots that have not met the Availability Criteria to remain in the Beta Program, and may set deadlines by which all Socialbots must meet the Availability Criteria in order to continue participating in the Competition. Additionally, Sponsor may condition a Socialbot’s inclusion in the Alexa Prize Skill on that Socialbot continuing to meet the Availability Criteria. Each Socialbot’s Interaction Ratings collected during the Initial Feedback Period will be provided to the Entrant Team. Entrant Teams may continue to improve their Socialbots throughout the Initial Feedback Period.
The Alexa Prize Skill; Interaction Ratings. During the Internal Amazon Beta Period, Initial Feedback Period, the Quarterfinals Interaction Period, the Semifinals Interaction Period, and the Additional Feedback Period, Sponsor may allow Alexa users to invoke the Alexa Prize Skill by asking Alexa to discuss a specific topic, such as “Alexa, let’s chat about (a topic, for example, baseball playoffs, celebrity gossip, scientific breakthroughs, etc.).” In response, Alexa may direct the customer to an Entrant Team’s Socialbot to interact with the user (without identifying to the user which Entrant Team’s Socialbot has been selected), and the user may converse with the Socialbot until the user ends the conversation. At the end of the conversation, the users will be asked to rate the Socialbot on a scale of 1 to 5 based on the user’s satisfaction with the conversation (the “Interaction Ratings”). After a user provides an Interaction Rating, the Alexa Prize Skill may reveal to the user which Entrant Team’s Socialbot they were interacting with. Sponsor may determine in its sole discretion when and how frequently each Socialbot is made available to users and the method by which users invoke the Alexa Prize Skill. All Socialbots may not be selected to interact with users the same number of times.
When calculating Interaction Ratings for any Socialbot and for any purpose, Sponsor may elect to disregard Interaction Ratings (and the session lengths of the associated user interactions) from Alexa users for the purpose of selecting a finalist Socialbot if (a) the number of Interaction Ratings for a Socialbot from the applicable Alexa user exceeds a limit determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion (in which case Interaction Ratings will be counted up to such limit), (b) Sponsor determines in its sole discretion that any individual has submitted Interaction Ratings using more than one customer account, (c) Sponsor determines in its sole discretion the Interaction Ratings may have been generated by script, macro, bot, or other automated means, or (d) Sponsor determines in its sole discretion that inclusion of an Interaction Rating would reduce the integrity of the Interaction Ratings. Any Interaction Ratings disregarded by Sponsor will be void. Entrant Teams are prohibited from rating their own or any other Socialbot or from obtaining Interaction Ratings or user interactions by any fraudulent or inappropriate means, including, without limitation, paying for Interaction Ratings, agreeing to exchange Interaction Ratings with another person, offering prizes or other inducements to members of the public, using a script, macro, bot, or other automated means to generate user interactions or Interaction Ratings, or encouraging any other person or entity to engage in any of the foregoing, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. Any attempt by an Entrant Team, any Entrant Team member or his or her family or friends, or any other individual to obtain Interaction Ratings or user interactions using any mechanism that violates these Official Rules, or any other kind of fraudulent or inappropriate mechanism, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion, may result in disqualification.
PHASE 8 “Quarterfinals Interaction Period”: On March 2, 2021, the Entrant Teams will be divided up into two brackets by a random draw. Between March 2, 2021 and April 30, 2021, Alexa users will have the opportunity to interact with and rate eligible Socialbots through the Alexa Prize Skill. Entrant Teams may continue to improve their Socialbots throughout the Quarterfinals Interaction Period. Each Socialbot’s Interaction Ratings collected during the Quarterfinals Interaction Period may be provided to that Socialbot’s Entrant Team, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. At the conclusion of the Quarterfinals Interaction Period, the three Socialbots with the highest average Interaction Ratings provided by Alexa users in each bracket (with any ties broken by average interaction session length) and one or more Socialbots selected by Sponsor in its sole discretion based on Sponsor’s evaluation of their relevance, coherence, interestingness, speed and scientific merit (the “Semifinalist Socialbots”) will proceed to the Semifinals Feedback Period as described below.
All Entrant Teams will be invited to an Alexa Prize summit held in March 2021 at Sponsor’s headquarters in Seattle, Washington. Sponsor will provide each Entrant Team reimbursement for the cost of airline tickets (non-refundable coach class booked through Sponsor at least 14 days in advance) from the city where their University is located to Seattle, Washington, and the provision of hotel rooms in Seattle, Washington, in or about March 2021, to permit members of each Entrant Team (up to a maximum number of members determined by Sponsor) and the Faculty Advisor to attend the Alexa Prize summit. Travel expense subsidies may be subject to tax information reporting and withholding to the extent required by law. Attendance at the Alexa Prize summit is not required and will not affect an Entrant Team’s opportunity to win.
PHASE 9 “Semifinals Interaction Period”: Between May 4, 2021 and June 25, 2021, Alexa users will have the opportunity to interact with and rate eligible Semifinalist Socialbots through the Alexa Prize Skill. Entrant Teams may continue to improve their Socialbots throughout the Semifinals Interaction Period. Each Semifinalist Socialbot’s Interaction Ratings collected during the Semifinals Interaction Period may be provided to that Semifinalist Socialbot’s Entrant Team, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. The average of the Interaction Ratings collected for a Socialbot during the Semifinals Interaction Period are the “Semifinals Interaction Rating Average.” At the conclusion of the Semifinals Interaction Period, the three Semifinalist Socialbots with the highest Semifinals Interaction Rating Average (with any ties broken by average interaction session length) and two or more Socialbots (including Socialbots not selected as Semifinalist Socialbots) selected by Sponsor in its sole discretion based on Sponsor’s evaluation of their relevance, coherence, interestingness, speed and scientific merit will proceed to the Finals Feedback Period and Finals Event as described below.
Leaders of finalist Entrant Teams will be notified by email on or around July 5, 2021 at the email address provided at time of Entry Application. All Entrants on potential finalist Entrant Teams will be required to complete and return an Affidavit of Eligibility and Publicity/Liability Release (where legal) and an Entrant Release Form and Affirmation that, among other things, affirms each Entrant’s agreement to these Official Rules, and may be subject to a Background Check Authorization Form and/or any other vetting process within the timeframe stated on the notification attempt or a runner-up potential finalist Entrant Team may be contacted, time permitting. Each finalist Entrant Team must also agree to maintain the Socialbot so that it is available to Alexa customers for at least six months following the public announcement of the winner of the Competition. If any email notification is returned as undeliverable, if a potential finalist Entrant Team does not respond within the required number of days specified by Sponsor, or if information collected within the clearance documentation, entry, or background check is found in non-compliance with these Official Rules or raises other issues of significant concern to Sponsor, or if a potential finalist Entrant Team or Entrant declines to proceed for any reason whatsoever, Sponsor shall have no further obligation to such potential finalist Entrant Team and a runner-up finalist Entrant Team selected by Sponsor in its sole discretion may be contacted, time permitting.
Disclosure of Third-Party Funding. If any Entrant Team receives any third-party funding to facilitate its participation in this Competition, such funding must be disclosed to Sponsor no later than June 25, 2021, along with any requirements imposed on the Entrant Team in connection with the funding. Entrant Teams may not accept or use any third-party funding if acceptance or use of that funding, or any requirements imposed in connection with that funding, would conflict with these Official Rules.
Technical Publication. By no later than June 25, 2021, all participating Entrant Teams must submit a technical article including (a) the technical approach for their Socialbot, and (b) any comparative experiments performed by the Entrant Team and results of those experiments (a “Technical Article”). Entrant Team’s Technical Article must include sufficient detail to permit other researchers to replicate the work. However, Technical Articles may not include any Non-Public Materials, Interaction Data, or other confidential information of Sponsor or its affiliates. If a Technical Article does not provide sufficient detail to replicate the work, Sponsor may require the Entrant Team to provide Sponsor any additional information needed to replicate the work. Sponsor will publish the Technical Articles. Prior to the publication, Sponsor will not disclose Technical Articles to third parties. Entrant Teams may update their Technical Articles prior to the Finals Event.
Entrants may publish other technical articles describing their work (“Additional Articles”), although Entrant Teams must obtain Sponsor’s written approval to submit Additional Articles for publication prior to Sponsor’s publication of the Technical Articles. Additional Articles may not include any Non-Public Materials, Interaction Data, or other confidential information of Sponsor or its affiliates. Entrants must submit any Additional Articles to Sponsor for review and comment at least two weeks prior to the submission deadline and must make, prior to publication, any changes or deletions requested by Sponsor to protect confidential or other sensitive information.
PHASE 10 “Additional Feedback Period”: From July 5, 2021 through July 23, 2021, the finalist Socialbots will be made available to Alexa users through the Alexa Prize Skill. Each finalist Socialbot’s Interaction Ratings collected during the Additional Feedback Period will be provided to that Socialbot’s Entrant Team. Entrant Teams may continue to develop their Socialbots throughout the Additional Feedback Period.
PHASE 11 “Finals Event”: In or around July 2021 on a date determined by Sponsor, Sponsor will hold a Finals Event that will be structured as follows: Sponsor will identify individuals who will engage with the Socialbots in turn-by-turn conversation about popular topics (the “Interactors”), and individuals that will judge the interactions between the Socialbots and Interactors (the “Judges”). All or a portion of the Finals Event may be disseminated via Twitch.tv or other streaming, broadcast or distribution services in Sponsor’s sole discretion, and Sponsor may in its sole discretion elect to permit live audience members and/or people viewing the broadcast to judge the interactions between the Socialbots and the Interactors (the “Audience Judges”).
Finalist Travel Expenses: Sponsor may elect to provide each finalist Entrant Team reimbursement for the cost of airline tickets (non-refundable coach class booked through Sponsor at least 14 days in advance) from the city where their University is located to the site of the Finals Event or an event announcing the winners of the Competition, to take place in or around August 2021, and the provision of hotel rooms at the site of the Finals Event or such other event, to permit members of each finalist Entrant Team (up to a maximum number of members determined by Sponsor) and the Faculty Advisor to attend the Finals Event or such other event. Travel expense subsidies and access to the event may be subject to tax information reporting and withholding to the extent required by law.
Finals Judging Criteria
Each of the finalist Socialbots will interact with the same number of Interactors. While the conversations are taking place, Sponsor will not disclose to the Judges or to the Audience Judges (if applicable) which Socialbot an Interactor is interacting with. At the Finals Event, Socialbots must comply with all technical and operational requirements imposed by Sponsor, such as word limits on responses and latency limits.
By no later than July 16, 2021, Sponsor will communicate to the finalist Entrant Teams how conversations between the Interactors and the Socialbots will be initiated, the scope of these conversations, and how and when the conversations will be stopped. After the conversation has ended, each Judge will be asked give the Socialbot one or more ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 based on factors such as relevance, coherence and interestingness of conversations (the “Finals Ratings”). If Sponsor elects to use Audience Judges, after the conversation has ended each Audience Judge will be asked to give the Socialbots one or more ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 based on the same factors (the “Audience Finals Ratings”).
Sponsor may in its sole discretion elect to use the Semifinals Interaction Rating Average as a component of the scoring in the Finals Event, and will communicate such election to the Entrant Teams by no later than May 4, 2021. The composite score for each Socialbot will be determined based on the mean Finals Rating given by the Judges across the conversations with all Interactors, and, if applicable, the Semifinals Interaction Rating Average and the mean Audience Finals Ratings given by the Audience Judges across the conversations with all Interactors (the “Composite Score”). In the calculation of the Composite Score, if Sponsor elects to use the Semifinals Interaction Rating Average, it will be given the weight equivalent to the Finals Rating given by a single Judge; and if Sponsor elects to use Audience Judges, the mean Audience Finals Ratings will be given the same weight as the Finals Rating given by a single Judge. Sponsor may disregard a round of Finals Ratings or Audience Finals Ratings if Sponsor determines in its sole discretion that a technical or procedural irregularity has rendered such ratings inherently unfair. The Socialbot with the highest Composite Score will be the winner of the 2021 First-Place Prize (described below). If there is a tie in Composite Score, Sponsor will rank Socialbots based on the mean duration of the conversations with all Interactors. Sponsor’s decisions are final and binding in all matters relating to this Competition.
2021 First-Place Prize (1): The winning Entrant Team will receive $500,000 U.S. dollars awarded in the form of checks divided equally among all Entrant Team members.
2021 Second-Place Prize (1): The Entrant Team that receives the second highest Composite Score will receive $100,000 U.S. dollars awarded in the form of checks divided equally among all Entrant Team members.
2021 Third-Place Prize (1): The Entrant Team that receives the third highest Composite Score will receive $50,000 U.S. dollars awarded in the form of checks divided equally among all Entrant Team members
Grand Prize: If and only if the Entrant Team that wins the 2021 First-Place Prize has a Composite Score equal to 4.0 or higher and at least two-thirds of its Socialbot’s conversations with Interactors last for twenty (20) minutes, Sponsor will provide $1,000,000 U.S. dollars in the form of a research grant to the University of that Socialbot’s Entrant Team, subject to the University signing and returning any documents required by Sponsor. The Grand Prize winning Entrant Team members may also be offered paid internships with Sponsor, and the Faculty Advisor may be considered for a sabbatical fellowship, in each case subject to appropriate vetting, necessary legal compliance, an agreement to be entered into between Sponsor and the Entrants, and approval by the University if required. Sponsor does not guarantee the providing of any internship or sabbatical fellowship. For the avoidance of doubt, if the winning Entrant Team’s Socialbot does not receive a Composite Score equal to 4.0 or higher, or if fewer than two-thirds of its Socialbot’s conversations with Interactors last for twenty (20) minutes, there will be no $1,000,000 U.S. dollar Grand Prize awarded to the University; however, the 2021 First-Place Prize, 2021 Second-Place Prize and 2021 Third-Place Prize will still be awarded.
Prize Conditions. Prizes are non-transferable except as directed by Sponsor. No prize substitutions allowed. Except where prohibited by law, all federal, state, provincial or other tax liabilities are the responsibility of the prize winners, the Sponsor will not be responsible for any tax deductions which may be necessary and Sponsor reserves the right to withhold taxes as required by law. Prize winners will be responsible for paying all costs and expenses related to the prize that are not specifically mentioned, including, but not limited to, taxes, withholdings, and any other expenses that might reasonably be incurred by the winner in receiving or using the prize. All prizes awarded will be subject to any taxes Sponsor is required by law to withhold as well as applicable sales, use, gross receipts, goods and service, or similar transaction based taxes. IF TAXES ARE APPLICABLE TO THE PRIZE(S), IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE WINNER TO PAY TO THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES. PAYMENTS TO COMPETITION WINNERS ARE SUBJECT TO THE EXPRESS REQUIREMENT THAT THE WINNER SUBMIT TO SPONSOR ALL DOCUMENTATION REQUESTED BY SPONSOR (INCLUDING FORMS W-9 OR W-8BEN AS REQUESTED BY SPONSOR) TO PERMIT COMPLIANCE WITH ALL APPLICABLE STATE, FEDERAL, LOCAL AND FOREIGN (INCLUDING PROVINCIAL) TAX REPORTING AND WITHHOLDING REQUIREMENTS. Prize winners are responsible for ensuring that the tax documentation submitted to Sponsor complies with all applicable tax laws and requirements. If a winner fails to provide the documentation or submits incomplete documentation, the prize may be forfeited and Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, select an alternate winner.
Sponsor will divide all awards that are payable to Entrant Teams evenly among all Entrant Team members and distribute accordingly. Designation as a prize winner is subject to Entrant’s proof of compliance with these Official Rules, maintaining compliance with these Official Rules and approval by the Sponsor. All details of prizes not specified herein shall be determined solely by Sponsor.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: As between Sponsor and Entrant Teams, all Socialbots created by Entrant Teams will remain the property of the respective Entrant Teams (excluding any Program Materials incorporated in the Socialbot). However, Sponsor and its designees will have rights to the Socialbots as described below. By submitting a Socialbot in this Competition, each Entrant represents and warrants that he or she owns, or otherwise has the right to use and license, all of the intellectual property and other rights in and to the Socialbot. Each Entrant hereby grants Sponsor and its affiliates a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, and royalty-free license to make, have made, use, sell, offer for sale, import, export, license, exploit, promote, reproduce, make available, publicly display, publicly perform, create derivative works of, and otherwise exercise all intellectual property and other rights in and to any concepts, works, inventions, information, designs, programs, or software that Entrant or his or her Entrant Team develop or submit in connection with the Competition or the creation of the Socialbot, including any of the foregoing included or described in any Technical Article or other materials provided to Sponsor. In addition, upon Sponsor’s request, all Entrant Teams must provide Sponsor all source code and algorithms developed in connection with the Competition. Each Entrant agrees that he or she will do or perform, or cause to be done and performed, all such further acts and things, and shall execute and deliver all such other agreements, certificates, instruments and documents as Sponsor may reasonably request in order to carry out the intent and accomplish the purposes of the foregoing license.
Except where prohibited, each prize winner further consents (and agrees to sign any additional documents required by Sponsor to formalize, effect or perfect such consent) to Competition Entities’ use of Socialbots as specified herein and the use of any Entrant names, likeness, biographical information, and voice in advertising, publicity, trade, and other marketing and promotional materials (including video, audio, and print through all means of distribution) worldwide without compensation, notice or approval, and prize winner disclaims any ownership rights to the content of such materials.
WAIVER, RELEASE, AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY:
EACH ENTRANT ACCEPTS THE CONDITIONS STATED IN THESE OFFICIAL RULES, AGREES TO BE BOUND BY THE DECISIONS OF THE SPONSOR, WARRANTS THAT HE OR SHE IS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS COMPETITION, AND AGREES TO RELEASE, INDEMNIFY, AND HOLD HARMLESS COMPETITION ENTITIES AND THE PERSONNEL OF EACH FROM AND AGAINST ANY AND ALL CLAIMS, LOSSES, LIABILITY, AND DAMAGES OF ANY KIND (INCLUDING REASONABLE ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND EXPENSES) ASSERTED AGAINST ANY OF THEM, INCURRED OR SUSTAINED IN CONNECTION WITH OR RISING OUT OF ENTRANT’S PARTICIPATION IN THIS COMPETITION OR ANY TRAVEL OR ACTIVITY RELATED THERETO, USE OF ANY SOCIALBOT OR RIGHTS THEREIN, OR BREACH OF ANY AGREEMENT OR WARRANTY ASSOCIATED WITH THE COMPETITION, INCLUDING THESE OFFICIAL RULES. ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE COMPETITION IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND, SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, THE COMPETITION ENTITIES AND EACH OF THEIR LICENSEES RESERVE THE RIGHT TO SEEK ANY AND ALL REMEDIES AVAILABLE FROM ANY SUCH PERSON(S) RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY SUCH ATTEMPT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.
Each Entrant hereby acknowledges and agrees that the relationship between themselves and the Competition Entities is not a confidential, fiduciary, or other special relationship, and that the Entrant’s decision to provide the entry to Sponsor for purposes of the Competition does not place the Competition Entities in a position that is any different from the position held by members of the general public with regard to elements of the entry, other than as set forth in these Official Rules. Each Entrant understands and acknowledges that the Competition Entities have wide access to Socialbots, technology, designs, and other materials, and that new ideas are constantly being submitted to them or being developed by their own employees. Each Entrant also acknowledges that many ideas may be competitive with, similar to, or identical to the Socialbot submission in theme, idea, format, or other respects. Each Entrant acknowledges and agrees that such Entrant will not be entitled to any compensation as a result of Competition Entities' use of any such similar or identical material that has or may come to Competition Entities, or any of them, from other sources. Entrants acknowledge that other Entrants/Entrant Teams may have created ideas and concepts contained in their Socialbot design that may have familiarities or similarities to their Socialbot design, and that they will not be entitled to any compensation or right to negotiate with the Competition Entities because of these familiarities or similarities.
Entrants further agree that the Competition Entities are not responsible for the following: (a) electronic transmissions, Socialbots or entries or notifications that are lost, late, stolen, incomplete, damaged, garbled, destroyed, misdirected or not received by Sponsor or their agents for any reason; (b) any problems or technical malfunctions, errors, omissions, interruptions, deletions, defects, delays in operation or transmission, communication failures and/or human error that may occur in the transmission, shipping errors or delays, receipt or processing of entries or related materials; or for destruction of or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, entries or related material; (c) failed or unavailable hardware, network, software or telephone transmissions, damage to Entrants’ or any person’s computer and/or its contents related to or resulting from participation in this Competition; (d) causes that jeopardize the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Competition; (e) any entries submitted in a manner that is not expressly allowed under these Official Rules (all such entries will be disqualified); or (f) any printing errors in these Official Rules or in any advertisements or correspondence in connection with this Competition or the tabulation of Interaction Ratings or scores. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this Competition should virus, bugs, fraud, hacking, or other causes corrupt the administration, security, or proper play of the Competition, or in the event Sponsor does not receive a minimum of two qualified entries from separate eligible Entrant Teams. Sponsor further reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this Competition or to reschedule or reformat events, including without limitation the Alexa Prize summit or Finals Event, should Sponsor be prevented, in any manner whatsoever, from holding this Competition or any event due to any present or future law (whether or not valid); any act of God, earthquake, fire, flood, epidemic (including, without limitation, any pandemic), accident, explosion or casualty; any civil disturbance or armed conflict; or any other cause of any similar nature outside of Sponsor’s control. In all such cases, notice to this effect will be posted on the Competition Site and prizes to the extent awarded will be awarded as determined by Sponsor prior to cancellation. If, in Sponsor’s opinion, there is any suspected or actual evidence of electronic or non-electronic tampering with any portion of the Competition or if technical difficulties compromise the integrity of the Competition, the Sponsor reserves the right to void suspect entries and/or terminate the Competition and award prizes in its sole discretion. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual found tampering with the entry process or entry materials or otherwise interfering with the proper administration of the Competition or violating these Official Rules.
DISPUTES: Except where prohibited, you agree that: (1) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Competition or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action; (2) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering this Competition, but in no event attorneys’ fees; and (3) under no circumstances will you be permitted to obtain awards for, and you hereby waive all rights to claim, indirect, punitive, incidental and consequential damages and any other damages (other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses), and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of the Entrant and Sponsor in connection with the Competition, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of Washington without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the State of Washington or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of Washington.
SPONSOR: Amazon.com Services LLC, 410 Terry Ave North, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.