SocialBot Grand Challenge Rules
Please review the rules before taking part in the challenge.
The Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge 5 (the “Competition”) is a skill competition sponsored by Amazon.com Services LLC (“Sponsor”), in which competing teams of college or university students each build an Alexa skill using the Alexa Skills Kit APIs that can converse with users on popular topics and current events via Amazon Alexa for use in the United States (a “SocialBot”).
Selected teams will have the opportunity to participate in the Competition, and final results will be announced in August 2023. See below for the Competition details.
By applying to or participating in the Competition, you agree to these Official Rules. Please read them carefully.
COMPETITION CALENDAR: Applications to participate in the Competition can be submitted starting July 6, 2022. After participating teams are selected, the Competition will run from November 2022 through August 2023 (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||July 6, 2022||October 5, 2022|
|PHASE 2: Sponsor Application Review Period||October 6, 2022||October 14, 2022|
|PHASE 3: Participant Notification Period and Onboarding||October 14, 2022||November 11, 2022|
|PHASE 4: Initial Skills Development Period||November 14, 2022||January 27, 2023|
|BOOT CAMP||November 30, 2022||December 2, 2022|
|PHASE 5: Skill Certification Period||January 30, 2023||February 10, 2023|
|PHASE 6: Internal Amazon Beta Period||February 13, 2023||March 3, 2023|
|PHASE 7: Initial Feedback Period||March 6, 2023||May 5, 2023|
|PHASE 8: Semifinals Interaction Period||May 8, 2023||June 23, 2023|
|PHASE 9: Finals Feedback Period||July 3, 2023||July 21, 2023|
|PHASE 10: Finals Event||July 31, 2023||August 4, 2023|
|WINNERS ANNOUNCED||August 2023|
SOCIALBOT GRAND CHALLENGE OVERVIEW
The SocialBot Grand Challenge aims to promote scientific and technological advancement in the field of conversational AI by challenging each participating team to build a SocialBot that can converse coherently and engagingly with humans on popular topics and current events for at least 20 minutes while achieving a user rating of at least 4.0/5.0. Participating teams will have the opportunity to drive advances in several areas of conversational AI, including: knowledge acquisition, natural language understanding, natural language generation, context modeling, commonsense reasoning, and dialog management and planning. Subject to the terms in these Official Rules, select participating teams will have the opportunity to make their SocialBots available to users of the Alexa service, learn from Alexa user interactions and feedback to improve their SocialBot algorithms and models, and compete for various prizes, as detailed further below.
To be eligible to participate in the Competition, you must: (1) be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or post-graduate student in good standing at an accredited college or university (other than colleges or universities located in any of the Restricted Jurisdictions outlined below) (“Universities”) at the time of entry and during the entire course of your participation 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 (“Restricted Jurisdictions”). People who, during the Competition Period, are directors, officers, employees, interns, or contractors (“Personnel”) of Sponsor, its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, or their respective advertising, promotion and public relations agencies, representatives, or agents (collectively, “Competition Entities”), immediate families members of such Personnel (parents, siblings, children, spouses, and life partners of each) or 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, disqualify ineligible participants, and 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 must be part of only one Entrant Team. Any Entrant that is part of more than one Entrant Team, and any corresponding Entrant Team, may be disqualified 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 are Entrants. All prize money payable to Entrant Teams will be split evenly among the Entrants 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, who maintain eligibility (including full-time student status in good standing at their University) during the entire course of their participation in the Competition, and who continue to participate in the Competition until any one of the following events occurs: (1) until the end of the Competition Period, (2) if they graduate in May 2023 or later, until their graduation from their University, or (3) if they accept an internship for the summer of 2023 that renders them ineligible to continue to participate, until the start of that internship.
Each team must select a faculty advisor who, with respect to that team, will act as the official representative for the Entrant Team’s University (the “Faculty Advisor”). Each Entrant Team must have its own Faculty Advisor; no Faculty Advisor may represent more than one team. 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 Period, but no later than the end of the Initial Feedback Period, the Faculty Advisor may request to remove members from the Entrant Team or to add additional members to the Entrant Team. The Faculty Advisor must provide, an explanation of the reason for the removal or addition, and any proposed new member must provide any documentation requested by Sponsor and agree to comply with these Official Rules. Changes to the Entrant Team are subject to Sponsor’s approval in its sole discretion. If at any point during the Competition Period the Entrant Team’s Faculty Advisor cannot continue to serve as a Faculty Advisor, the Entrant Team may submit a request to Sponsor to select a new Faculty Advisor. Changes to the Entrant Team’s Faculty Advisor are subject to Sponsor’s approval in its sole discretion. If an Entrant Team fails to have a Faculty Advisor at any point in time during the Competition Period for any reason, the Entrant Team may be disqualified.
Each Entrant must be eligible to participate in this Competition and comply with these Official Rules or the Entrant, and the Entrant Team associated with that Entrant, 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 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 an Entrant Team’s University may provide support and advice to the Entrant Team and may co-author the Technical Article (as defined below) or other research papers.
As part of the Competition, 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, 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 or controversial 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. 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, so long as no confidential information of Sponsor and no Alexa user interaction data is shared with any third party.
During all phases of the Competition, Sponsor may in its sole discretion require Entrant Teams to provide periodic status updates, reports, or demonstrations of the SocialBots. Sponsor may also require 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, including by disqualification from the Competition.
Sponsor may in its sole discretion require the SocialBots to adhere to requirements designed to ensure that the SocialBots are focused on the goal of advancing the science of conversational artificial intelligence, and to ensure a positive experience for Alexa customers using the SocialBots. Such requirements may include, but are not limited to, 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, the Entrant is subject to and agrees to comply with Sponsor’s Program Materials License Agreement. Program Materials may include APIs, data sets, and other materials that are not public (“Non-Public Materials”). Each Entrant Team whose SocialBot is made available through the Alexa service will receive automatic speech recognition text transcriptions and other data (e.g., confidence scores) relating to Alexa user interactions with the Entrant Team’s SocialBot (“Interaction Data”).
Each Entrant and Faculty Advisor agrees that they will not disclose, distribute, or otherwise make available any Non-Public Materials or Interaction Data to anyone other than other Entrants of their Entrant Team and the Entrant Team’s Faculty Advisor. Each Entrant (and each Faculty Advisor) agrees that they 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. If any Entrant or Faculty Advisor is disqualified from the Competition, leaves the University, or otherwise terminates their participation in the Competition, that individual must immediately return or destroy all Non-Public Materials and Interaction Data in their possession. 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.
DESCRIPTION OF COMPETITION PHASES
PHASE 1 “Participant Application Period”: Between July 6, 2022 and October 5, 2022, the leader of each Entrant Team that wishes to enter the Competition may visit https://www.amazon.science/alexa-prize (the “Competition Site”) to 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 a bio for each Entrant Team member.
Each Entrant Team will be required to answer the following questions:
- What is your team’s vision for your SocialBot?
- How do you want users to feel at the end of an interaction with your SocialBot?
- How will your team measure success in the Competition?
- Please share sample interactions you expect your SocialBot to achieve by the end of the Competition.
- Describe, in detail, your scientific approach, the related system architecture, any innovative claims, technical challenges you will need to overcome, and risks. Plan for operating at scale when you define the architecture. (2 page PDF structured as a technical paper and 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 synthesis or extension of existing 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 may submit an Entry Application on behalf of their 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 the last day of the Participant Application Period. 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 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. Once submitted, Entry Applications will not be returned and become the property of the Sponsor.
Entry Terms: Determination of eligibility and compliance with these Official Rules and any other requirements imposed by Sponsor will be in the sole discretion of the Sponsor. By entering, Entrants represent that all information and materials submitted to Sponsor in connection with the Competition:
- are the original work of the Entrant Team or an update to an original work of the Entrant Team;
- 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
- 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.
PHASE 2 “Sponsor Application Review Period”: All eligible Entry Applications will be reviewed by the Sponsor. Sponsor will select up to ten Entrant Teams to participate in the Competition in its sole discretion, including based on 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”: Entrant Teams selected by Sponsor to participate in the Competition will be notified by email at the email address provided at time of Entry Application. Entrant Teams acknowledge that some Entrant Teams may include Entrants and Faculty Advisors who participated in prior 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 restricted research grant of $250,000 U.S. dollars (paid in any number of installments as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion, subject to Entrant Team’s continued participation in and eligibility for the Competition), which will be paid to the Universities of the selected Entrant Teams in the form of restricted research grants. These grants 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 agreements or other 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 agreements and other documentation have been completed by the University. The grants are intended to support two full-time students or the equivalent of two full-time students during 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 managing the funds, including their allocation or distribution by the University, after they are paid to the University. 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.
Stipends are non-transferable except as directed by Sponsor. No stipend substitutions or cash redemptions are allowed except as designated 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 relating to the stipend not specified herein shall be determined solely by Sponsor.
BOOT CAMP: Entrant Teams may be invited to a Boot Camp at Sponsor’s headquarters in Seattle, Washington, or another location determined by Sponsor. Sponsor may elect to pay for airfare (non-refundable coach tickets booked through Sponsor at least 14 days in advance) and hotel accommodations for the Faculty Advisor and members of each Entrant Team (up to a maximum number of members to be determined by Sponsor) for travel from their university to the Boot Camp. These travel expense subsidies may be subject to tax information reporting and withholding to the extent required by law. Attendance at the Boot Camp is not required and will not affect an Entrant Team’s opportunity to win. Sponsor may also choose to hold the Boot Camp virtually, in which case Entrant Teams will not receive any payment for travel expenses.
PHASE 4 “Initial Skills Development Period”: Entrant Teams will develop their SocialBots. If an Entrant Team includes any Entrants or a Faculty Advisor from a team that participated in a prior Alexa Prize competition (a “Prior Year Team”), the Entrant Team may utilize and incorporate any concepts, works, inventions, information, designs, programs, or software created by the pertinent Prior Year Team, provided that the Entrant Team has obtained in writing all necessary rights, licenses, and permissions to do so, including all rights, licenses, and permissions that are necessary 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 SocialBots to Sponsor for certification no later than 11:59 pm Pacific Time on the last day of the Initial Skills Development Period.
PHASE 5 “Skill Certification Period”: 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 users of 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”: SocialBots that have passed certification will be made available to employees of Sponsor 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 users of the Alexa service through an Alexa Skill that allows users to interact with the SocialBot (the “Alexa Prize Skill”).
PHASE 7 “Initial Feedback Period”: SocialBots that have passed certification and 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 and availability to Alexa users 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. Sponsor may impose criteria, including but not limited to a minimum mean Interaction Rating, uptime requirements, and ability to filter offensive content (the “Semifinals Criteria”) that a SocialBot must meet in order to exit the Initial Feedback Period and advance to the Semifinals Interaction Period.
The Alexa Prize Skill; Interaction Ratings. During the Internal Amazon Beta Period, the Initial Feedback Period, the Semifinals Interaction Period, and the Finals Feedback Period, Sponsor may allow Alexa users to invoke the Alexa Prize Skill by saying a specific invocation phrase, such as “Alexa, let’s chat.” In response, Alexa may direct the user 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 interaction.
At the end of the interaction, the user 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. Different 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 that 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 their 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 means, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion, may result in disqualification.
PHASE 8 “Semifinals Interaction Period”: SocialBots that have met all Semifinals Criteria will be made available to Alexa users, who 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 is the “Semifinals Interaction Rating Average.” At the conclusion of the Semifinals Interaction Period, the two Semifinalist SocialBots with the highest Semifinals Interaction Rating Average (with any ties broken by average interaction session length) and up to three 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 of their preliminary selection to proceed to the Finals Feedback Period by email 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 invited to participate in the finals, 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 the last date of the Semifinals Interaction Period, 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 the last date of the Semifinals Interaction Period, 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 9 “Finals Feedback Period”: The finalist SocialBots will be made available to Alexa users through the Alexa Prize Skill. Each finalist SocialBot’s Interaction Ratings collected during the Finals Feedback Period will be provided to that SocialBot’s Entrant Team. Entrant Teams may continue to develop their SocialBots throughout the Finals Feedback Period.
PHASE 10 “Finals Event”: 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) to the site of the Finals Event or an event announcing the winners of the Competition, 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.
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. 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.
Overall Performance Prize
The Entrant Teams whose SocialBots attain the three highest Composite Scores will be the winners of the following Overall Performance Prizes. If there is a tie in Composite Scores, 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, including the determination of prize winners.
First-Place Overall Performance Prize (1): The Entrant Team that receives the highest Composite Score will receive $250,000 U.S. dollars awarded in the form of checks divided equally among all members of that Entrant Team.
Second-Place Overall Performance Prize (1): The Entrant Team that receives the second highest Composite Score will receive $50,000 U.S. dollars awarded in the form of checks divided equally among all members of that Entrant Team.
Third-Place Overall Performance Prize (1): The Entrant Team that receives the third highest Composite Score will receive $25,000 U.S. dollars awarded in the form of checks divided equally among all members of that Entrant Team.
Scientific Invention and Innovation Prize
Entrant Teams that advance to and complete the Semifinals Interaction Period, regardless of whether they advanced to the Finals Event, will be eligible to compete for Scientific Invention and Innovation Prizes. To be eligible to compete for the Scientific Invention and Innovation Prizes, an Entrant Team must submit a 2-page summary of its scientific experimentation and findings at the end of each of the following phases of the Competition: the Initial Feedback Period and the Semifinals Interaction Period. These summaries will be reviewed and graded by Sponsor to assess the level of scientific invention and innovation demonstrated by each Entrant Team throughout the Competition. After the Finals Event, Sponsor will invite select Semifinalist Entrant Teams that have demonstrated a high level of scientific invention and innovation, as determined in Sponsor’s sole discretion, to make a presentation to a Science Invention and Innovation Review Panel regarding their scientific work, experimentation, and inventions and innovation during the Competition, and participate in a question and answer period with the panel. The panel will consist of distinguished scientists selected by Sponsor, each of which will assess each Entrant Team’s presentation and answers to questions on a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best). The Entrant Teams that attain the three highest total scores from the panel review will be the winners of the following Scientific Invention and Innovation Prizes.
First-Place Scientific Invention and Innovation Prize (1): The Entrant Team that receives the highest total science score will receive $250,000 U.S. dollars awarded in the form of checks divided equally among all members of that Entrant Team.
Second-Place Scientific Invention and Innovation Prize (1): The Entrant Team that receives the second highest total science score will receive $50,000 U.S. dollars awarded in the form of checks divided equally among all members of that Entrant Team.
Third-Place Scientific Invention and Innovation Prize (1): The Entrant Team that receives the third highest total science score will receive $25,000 U.S. dollars awarded in the form of checks divided equally among all members of that Entrant Team.
If and only if the Entrant Team that wins the First-Place Overall Performance 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 at least 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 agreements or other 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 any requirements determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. 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 at least twenty (20) minutes, there will be no $1,000,000 U.S. dollar Grand Prize awarded to any University.
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, 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 any Entrant Team evenly among the 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 Sponsor. All details of prizes not specified herein shall be determined solely by Sponsor.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: By entering the Competition, each Entrant and Entrant Team represents and warrants that he or she has 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. Entrants MAY NOT submit SocialBots created by any person other than themselves or their Entrant Team members.
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 and Entrant Team represents and warrants that they own, or otherwise have the right to use and license, all of the intellectual property and other rights in and to the SocialBot. Each Entrant and Entrant Team 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, software, or other materials that the Entrant or Entrant Team develops or submits 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 Entrants and Entrant Teams must provide Sponsor all source code and algorithms developed in connection with the Competition. Each Entrant agrees to do or perform, or cause to be done and performed, all such further acts and things, and 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 Entrant and Entrant Team further consents (and agrees to sign any additional documents required by Sponsor to formalize, effect, or perfect such consent) to Competition Entities’ use of their SocialBots pursuant to these Official Rules and the use of any Entrant or Entrant Team 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 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 SPONSOR, WARRANTS THAT THE ENTRANT IS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS COMPETITION, AND AGREES TO RELEASE, INDEMNIFY, AND HOLD HARMLESS THE 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 ARISING OUT OF ENTRANT’S PARTICIPATION IN THIS COMPETITION OR ANY TRAVEL OR OTHER 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 MAY BE 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 PERSONS 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 and 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, 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 determine whether to award prizes in its sole discretion. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual found by Sponsor to have tampered with the entry process or entry materials, otherwise interfered with the proper administration of the Competition, or violated 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; (3) the Competition Entities shall not be liable for, 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. You irrevocably submit to venue and exclusive personal jurisdiction in the federal and state courts in Seattle, King County, Washington, USA, for any dispute arising under these Official Rules or in connection with the Competition, and you waive all objections to jurisdiction and venue of such courts.
SPONSOR: Amazon.com Services LLC, 410 Terry Ave North, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.