Counterfactual data augmentation (CDA) – i.e., adding minimally perturbed inputs during training – helps reduce model reliance on spurious correlations and improves generalization to out-of-distribution (OOD) data. Prior work on generating counterfactuals only considered restricted classes of perturbations, limiting their effectiveness. We present Counterfactual Generation via Retrieval and Editing (CORE), a retrieval-augmented generation framework for creating diverse counterfactual perturbations for CDA. For each training example, CORE first performs a dense retrieval over a task-related unlabeled text corpus using a learned bi-encoder and extracts relevant counterfactual excerpts. CORE then incorporates these into prompts to a large language model with few-shot learning capabilities, for counterfactual editing. Conditioning language model edits on naturally occurring data results in more diverse perturbations. Experiments on natural language inference and sentiment analysis benchmarks show that CORE counterfactuals are more effective at improving generalization to OOD data compared to other DA approaches. We also show that the CORE retrieval framework can be used to encourage diversity in manually authored perturbations.
Deep NLP models have been shown to be brittle to input perturbations. Recent work has shown that data augmentation using counterfactuals — i.e. minimally perturbed inputs — can help ameliorate this weakness. We focus on the task of creating counterfactuals for question answering, which presents unique challenges related to world knowledge, semantic diversity, and answerability. To address these challenges, we develop a Retrieve-Generate-Filter(RGF) technique to create counterfactual evaluation and training data with minimal human supervision. Using an open-domain QA framework and question generation model trained on original task data, we create counterfactuals that are fluent, semantically diverse, and automatically labeled. Data augmentation with RGF counterfactuals improves performance on out-of-domain and challenging evaluation sets over and above existing methods, in both the reading comprehension and open-domain QA settings. Moreover, we find that RGF data leads to significant improvements in a model’s robustness to local perturbations.
Current abstractive summarization systems outperform their extractive counterparts, but their widespread adoption is inhibited by the inherent lack of interpretability. Extractive summarization systems, though interpretable, suffer from redundancy and possible lack of coherence. To achieve the best of both worlds, we propose EASE, an extractive-abstractive framework that generates concise abstractive summaries that can be traced back to an extractive summary. Our framework can be applied to any evidence-based text generation problem and can accommodate various pretrained models in its simple architecture. We use the Information Bottleneck principle to jointly train the extraction and abstraction in an end-to-end fashion. Inspired by previous research that humans use a two-stage framework to summarize long documents (Jing and McKeown, 2000), our framework first extracts a pre-defined amount of evidence spans and then generates a summary using only the evidence. Using automatic and human evaluations, we show that the generated summaries are better than strong extractive and extractive-abstractive baselines.
Natural language (NL) explanations of model predictions are gaining popularity as a means to understand and verify decisions made by large black-box pre-trained models, for tasks such as Question Answering (QA) and Fact Verification. Recently, pre-trained sequence to sequence (seq2seq) models have proven to be very effective in jointly making predictions, as well as generating NL explanations. However, these models have many shortcomings; they can fabricate explanations even for incorrect predictions, they are difficult to adapt to long input documents, and their training requires a large amount of labeled data. In this paper, we develop FiD-Ex, which addresses these shortcomings for seq2seq models by: 1) introducing sentence markers to eliminate explanation fabrication by encouraging extractive generation, 2) using the fusion-in-decoder architecture to handle long input contexts, and 3) intermediate fine-tuning on re-structured open domain QA datasets to improve few-shot performance. FiD-Ex significantly improves over prior work in terms of explanation metrics and task accuracy on five tasks from the ERASER explainability benchmark in both fully supervised and few-shot settings.
Decisions of complex models for language understanding can be explained by limiting the inputs they are provided to a relevant subsequence of the original text — a rationale. Models that condition predictions on a concise rationale, while being more interpretable, tend to be less accurate than models that are able to use the entire context. In this paper, we show that it is possible to better manage the trade-off between concise explanations and high task accuracy by optimizing a bound on the Information Bottleneck (IB) objective. Our approach jointly learns an explainer that predicts sparse binary masks over input sentences without explicit supervision, and an end-task predictor that considers only the residual sentences. Using IB, we derive a learning objective that allows direct control of mask sparsity levels through a tunable sparse prior. Experiments on the ERASER benchmark demonstrate significant gains over previous work for both task performance and agreement with human rationales. Furthermore, we find that in the semi-supervised setting, a modest amount of gold rationales (25% of training examples with gold masks) can close the performance gap with a model that uses the full input.
Utterance-level analysis of the speaker’s intentions and emotions is a core task in conversational understanding. Depending on the end objective of the conversational understanding task, different categorical dialog-act or affect labels are expertly designed to cover specific aspects of the speakers’ intentions or emotions respectively. Accurately annotating with these labels requires a high level of human expertise, and thus applying this process to a large conversation corpus or new domains is prohibitively expensive. The resulting paucity of data limits the use of sophisticated neural models. In this paper, we tackle these limitations by performing unsupervised training of utterance representations from a large corpus of spontaneous dialogue data. Models initialized with these representations achieve competitive performance on utterance-level dialogue-act recognition and emotion classification, especially in low-resource settings encountered when analyzing conversations in new domains.
Although over 100 languages are supported by strong off-the-shelf machine translation systems, only a subset of them possess large annotated corpora for named entity recognition. Motivated by this fact, we leverage machine translation to improve annotation-projection approaches to cross-lingual named entity recognition. We propose a system that improves over prior entity-projection methods by: (a) leveraging machine translation systems twice: first for translating sentences and subsequently for translating entities; (b) matching entities based on orthographic and phonetic similarity; and (c) identifying matches based on distributional statistics derived from the dataset. Our approach improves upon current state-of-the-art methods for cross-lingual named entity recognition on 5 diverse languages by an average of 4.1 points. Further, our method achieves state-of-the-art F_1 scores for Armenian, outperforming even a monolingual model trained on Armenian source data.
We present a feature vector formation technique for documents - Sparse Composite Document Vector (SCDV) - which overcomes several shortcomings of the current distributional paragraph vector representations that are widely used for text representation. In SCDV, word embeddings are clustered to capture multiple semantic contexts in which words occur. They are then chained together to form document topic-vectors that can express complex, multi-topic documents. Through extensive experiments on multi-class and multi-label classification tasks, we outperform the previous state-of-the-art method, NTSG. We also show that SCDV embeddings perform well on heterogeneous tasks like Topic Coherence, context-sensitive Learning and Information Retrieval. Moreover, we achieve a significant reduction in training and prediction times compared to other representation methods. SCDV achieves best of both worlds - better performance with lower time and space complexity.