Dialog is a core building block of human natural language interactions. It contains multi-party utterances used to convey information from one party to another in a dynamic and evolving manner. The ability to compare dialogs is beneficial in many real world use cases, such as conversation analytics for contact center calls and virtual agent design. We propose a novel adaptation of the edit distance metric to the scenario of dialog similarity. Our approach takes into account various conversation aspects such as utterance semantics, conversation flow, and the participants. We evaluate this new approach and compare it to existing document similarity measures on two publicly available datasets. The results demonstrate that our method outperforms the other approaches in capturing dialog flow, and is better aligned with the human perception of conversation similarity.
Data balancing is a known technique for improving the performance of classification tasks. In this work we define a novel balancing-viageneration framework termed BalaGen. BalaGen consists of a flexible balancing policy coupled with a text generation mechanism. Combined, these two techniques can be used to augment a dataset for more balanced distribution. We evaluate BalaGen on three publicly available semantic utterance classification (SUC) datasets. One of these is a new COVID-19 Q&A dataset published here for the first time. Our work demonstrates that optimal balancing policies can significantly improve classifier performance, while augmenting just part of the classes and under-sampling others. Furthermore, capitalizing on the advantages of balancing, we show its usefulness in all relevant BalaGen framework components. We validate the superiority of BalaGen on ten semantic utterance datasets taken from real-life goaloriented dialogue systems. Based on our results we encourage using data balancing prior to training for text classification tasks.