While state-of-the-art NLP models have been achieving the excellent performance of a wide range of tasks in recent years, important questions are being raised about their robustness and their underlying sensitivity to systematic biases that may exist in their training and test data. Such issues come to be manifest in performance problems when faced with out-of-distribution data in the field. One recent solution has been to use counterfactually augmented datasets in order to reduce any reliance on spurious patterns that may exist in the original data. Producing high-quality augmented data can be costly and time-consuming as it usually needs to involve human feedback and crowdsourcing efforts. In this work, we propose an alternative by describing and evaluating an approach to automatically generating counterfactual data for the purpose of data augmentation and explanation. A comprehensive evaluation on several different datasets and using a variety of state-of-the-art benchmarks demonstrate how our approach can achieve significant improvements in model performance when compared to models training on the original data and even when compared to models trained with the benefit of human-generated augmented data.
Corporate mergers and acquisitions (M&A) account for billions of dollars of investment globally every year and offer an interesting and challenging domain for artificial intelligence. However, in these highly sensitive domains, it is crucial to not only have a highly robust/accurate model, but be able to generate useful explanations to garner a user’s trust in the automated system. Regrettably, the recent research regarding eXplainable AI (XAI) in financial text classification has received little to no attention, and many current methods for generating textual-based explanations result in highly implausible explanations, which damage a user’s trust in the system. To address these issues, this paper proposes a novel methodology for producing plausible counterfactual explanations, whilst exploring the regularization benefits of adversarial training on language models in the domain of FinTech. Exhaustive quantitative experiments demonstrate that not only does this approach improve the model accuracy when compared to the current state-of-the-art and human performance, but it also generates counterfactual explanations which are significantly more plausible based on human trials.