The tasks of humor understanding and generation are challenging and subjective even for humans, requiring commonsense and real-world knowledge to master. Puns, in particular, add the challenge of fusing that knowledge with the ability to interpret lexical-semantic ambiguity. In this paper, we present the ExPUNations (ExPUN) dataset, in which we augment an existing dataset of puns with detailed crowdsourced annotations of keywords denoting the most distinctive words that make the text funny, pun explanations describing why the text is funny, and fine-grained funniness ratings. This is the first humor dataset with such extensive and fine-grained annotations specifically for puns. Based on these annotations, we propose two tasks: explanation generation to aid with pun classification and keyword-conditioned pun generation, to challenge the current state-of-the-art natural language understanding and generation models’ ability to understand and generate humor. We showcase that the annotated keywords we collect are helpful for generating better novel humorous texts in human evaluation, and that our natural language explanations can be leveraged to improve both the accuracy and robustness of humor classifiers.
Previous work on pun generation commonly begins with a given pun word (a pair of homophones for heterographic pun generation and a polyseme for homographic pun generation) and seeks to generate an appropriate pun. While this may enable efficient pun generation, we believe that a pun is most entertaining if it fits appropriately within a given context, e.g., a given situation or dialogue. In this work, we propose a new task, context-situated pun generation, where a specific context represented by a set of keywords is provided, and the task is to first identify suitable pun words that are appropriate for the context, then generate puns based on the context keywords and the identified pun words. We collect a new dataset, CUP (Context-sitUated Pun), containing 4.5k tuples of context words and pun pairs. Based on the new data and setup, we propose a pipeline system for context-situated pun generation, including a pun word retrieval module that identifies suitable pun words for a given context, and a pun generation module that generates puns from context keywords and pun words. Human evaluation shows that 69% of our top retrieved pun words can be used to generate context-situated puns, and our generation module yields successful puns 31% of the time given a plausible tuple of context words and pun pair, almost tripling the yield of a state-of-the-art pun generation model. With an end-to-end evaluation, our pipeline system with the top-1 retrieved pun pair for a given context can generate successful puns 40% of the time, better than all other modeling variations but 32% lower than the human success rate. This highlights the difficulty of the task, and encourages more research in this direction.
Natural Language Generation (NLG) for task-oriented dialogue systems focuses on communicating specific content accurately, fluently, and coherently. While these attributes are crucial for a successful dialogue, it is also desirable to simultaneously accomplish specific stylistic goals, such as response length, point-of-view, descriptiveness, sentiment, formality, and empathy. In this work, we focus on stylistic control and evaluation for schema-guided NLG, with joint goals of achieving both semantic and stylistic control. We experiment in detail with various controlled generation methods for large pretrained language models: specifically, conditional training, guided fine-tuning, and guided decoding. We discuss their advantages and limitations, and evaluate them with a broad range of automatic and human evaluation metrics. Our results show that while high style accuracy and semantic correctness are easier to achieve for more lexically-defined styles with conditional training, stylistic control is also achievable for more semantically complex styles using discriminator-based guided decoding methods. The results also suggest that methods that are more scalable (with less hyper-parameters tuning) and that disentangle context generation and stylistic variations are more effective at achieving semantic correctness and style accuracy.
Neural network based approaches to data-to-text natural language generation (NLG) have gained popularity in recent years, with the goal of generating a natural language prompt that accurately realizes an input meaning representation. To facilitate the training of neural network models, researchers created large datasets of paired utterances and their meaning representations. However, the creation of such datasets is an arduous task and they mostly consist of simple meaning representations composed of slot and value tokens to be realized. These representations do not include any contextual information that an NLG system can use when trying to generalize, such as domain information and descriptions of slots and values. In this paper, we present the novel task of Schema-Guided Natural Language Generation (SG-NLG). Here, the goal is still to generate a natural language prompt, but in SG-NLG, the input MRs are paired with rich schemata providing contextual information. To generate a dataset for SG-NLG we re-purpose an existing dataset for another task: dialog state tracking, which includes a large and rich schema spanning multiple different attributes, including information about the domain, user intent, and slot descriptions. We train different state-of-the-art models for neural natural language generation on this dataset and show that in many cases, including rich schema information allows our models to produce higher quality outputs both in terms of semantics and diversity. We also conduct experiments comparing model performance on seen versus unseen domains, and present a human evaluation demonstrating high ratings for overall output quality.
The Minecraft Collaborative Building Task is a two-player game in which an Architect (A) instructs a Builder (B) to construct a target structure in a simulated Blocks World Environment. We define the subtask of predicting correct action sequences (block placements and removals) in a given game context, and show that capturing B’s past actions as well as B’s perspective leads to a significant improvement in performance on this challenging language understanding problem.
We wish to develop interactive agents that can communicate with humans to collaboratively solve tasks in grounded scenarios. Since computer games allow us to simulate such tasks without the need for physical robots, we define a Minecraft-based collaborative building task in which one player (A, the Architect) is shown a target structure and needs to instruct the other player (B, the Builder) to build this structure. Both players interact via a chat interface. A can observe B but cannot place blocks. We present the Minecraft Dialogue Corpus, a collection of 509 conversations and game logs. As a first step towards our goal of developing fully interactive agents for this task, we consider the subtask of Architect utterance generation, and show how challenging it is.
Agents that communicate back and forth with humans to help them execute non-linguistic tasks are a long sought goal of AI. These agents need to translate between utterances and actionable meaning representations that can be interpreted by task-specific problem solvers in a context-dependent manner. They should also be able to learn such actionable interpretations for new predicates on the fly. We define an agent architecture for this scenario and present a series of experiments in the Blocks World domain that illustrate how our architecture supports language learning and problem solving in this domain.