Lifelong Learning (LL) black-box models are dynamic in that they keep learning from new tasks and constantly update their parameters. Owing to the need to utilize information from previously seen tasks, and capture commonalities in potentially diverse data, it is hard for automatic explanation methods to explain the outcomes of these models. In addition, existing explanation methods, e.g., LIME, which are computationally expensive when explaining a static black-box model, are even more inefficient in the LL setting. In this paper, we propose a novel Lifelong Explanation (LLE) approach that continuously trains a student explainer under the supervision of a teacher – an arbitrary explanation algorithm – on different tasks undertaken in LL. We also leverage the Experience Replay (ER) mechanism to prevent catastrophic forgetting in the student explainer. Our experiments comparing LLE to three baselines on text classification tasks show that LLE can enhance the stability of the explanations for all seen tasks and maintain the same level of faithfulness to the black-box model as the teacher, while being up to 10ˆ2 times faster at test time. Our ablation study shows that the ER mechanism in our LLE approach enhances the learning capabilities of the student explainer. Our code is available at https://github.com/situsnow/LLE.
Vent is a specialised iOS/Android social media platform with the stated goal to encourage people to post about their feelings and explicitly label them. In this paper, we study a snapshot of more than 100 million messages obtained from the developers of Vent, together with the labels assigned by the authors of the messages. We establish the quality of the self-annotated data by conducting a qualitative analysis, a vocabulary based analysis, and by training and testing an emotion classifier. We conclude that the self-annotated labels of our corpus are indeed indicative of the emotional contents expressed in the text and thus can support more detailed analyses of emotion expression on social media, such as emotion trajectories and factors influencing them.
The importance of explaining the outcome of a machine learning model, especially a black-box model, is widely acknowledged. Recent approaches explain an outcome by identifying the contributions of input features to this outcome. In environments involving large black-box models or complex inputs, this leads to computationally demanding algorithms. Further, these algorithms often suffer from low stability, with explanations varying significantly across similar examples. In this paper, we propose a Learning to Explain (L2E) approach that learns the behaviour of an underlying explanation algorithm simultaneously from all training examples. Once the explanation algorithm is distilled into an explainer network, it can be used to explain new instances. Our experiments on three classification tasks, which compare our approach to six explanation algorithms, show that L2E is between 5 and 7.5×10ˆ4 times faster than these algorithms, while generating more stable explanations, and having comparable faithfulness to the black-box model.
The detection of hyperbole is an important stepping stone to understanding the intentions of a hyperbolic utterance. We propose a model that combines pre-trained language models with privileged information for the task of hyperbole detection. We also introduce a suite of behavioural tests to probe the capabilities of hyperbole detection models across a range of hyperbole types. Our experiments show that our model improves upon baseline models on an existing hyperbole detection dataset. Probing experiments combined with analysis using local linear approximations (LIME) show that our model excels at detecting one particular type of hyperbole. Further, we discover that our experiments highlight annotation artifacts introduced through the process of literal paraphrasing of hyperbole. These annotation artifacts are likely to be a roadblock to further improvements in hyperbole detection.
Recent studies on domain-specific BERT models show that effectiveness on downstream tasks can be improved when models are pretrained on in-domain data. Often, the pretraining data used in these models are selected based on their subject matter, e.g., biology or computer science. Given the range of applications using social media text, and its unique language variety, we pretrain two models on tweets and forum text respectively, and empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of these two resources. In addition, we investigate how similarity measures can be used to nominate in-domain pretraining data. We publicly release our pretrained models at https://bit.ly/35RpTf0.
Free text data from social media is now widely used in natural language processing research, and one of the most common machine learning tasks performed on this data is classification. Generally speaking, performances of supervised classification algorithms on social media datasets are lower than those on texts from other sources, but recently-proposed transformer-based models have considerably improved upon legacy state-of-the-art systems. Currently, there is no study that compares the performances of different variants of transformer-based models on a wide range of social media text classification datasets. In this paper, we benchmark the performances of transformer-based pre-trained models on 25 social media text classification datasets, 6 of which are health-related. We compare three pre-trained language models, RoBERTa-base, BERTweet and ClinicalBioBERT in terms of classification accuracy. Our experiments show that RoBERTa-base and BERTweet perform comparably on most datasets, and considerably better than ClinicalBioBERT, even on health-related datasets.
Unlike widely used Named Entity Recognition (NER) data sets in generic domains, biomedical NER data sets often contain mentions consisting of discontinuous spans. Conventional sequence tagging techniques encode Markov assumptions that are efficient but preclude recovery of these mentions. We propose a simple, effective transition-based model with generic neural encoding for discontinuous NER. Through extensive experiments on three biomedical data sets, we show that our model can effectively recognize discontinuous mentions without sacrificing the accuracy on continuous mentions.
Organisations are monitoring their Social License to Operate (SLO) with increasing regularity. SLO, the level of support organisations gain from the public, is typically assessed through surveys or focus groups, which require expensive manual efforts and yield quickly-outdated results. In this paper, we present SIRTA (Social Insight via Real-Time Text Analytics), a novel real-time text analytics system for assessing and monitoring organisations’ SLO levels by analysing the public discourse from social posts. To assess SLO levels, our insight is to extract and transform peoples’ stances towards an organisation into SLO levels. SIRTA achieves this by performing a chain of three text classification tasks, where it identifies task-relevant social posts, discovers key SLO risks discussed in the posts, and infers stances specific to the SLO risks. We leverage recent language understanding techniques (e.g., BERT) for building our classifiers. To monitor SLO levels over time, SIRTA employs quality control mechanisms to reliably identify SLO trends and variations of multiple organisations in a market. These are derived from the smoothed time series of their SLO levels based on exponentially-weighted moving average (EWMA) calculation. Our experimental results show that SIRTA is highly effective in distilling stances from social posts for SLO level assessment, and that the continuous monitoring of SLO levels afforded by SIRTA enables the early detection of critical SLO changes.
Word vectors and Language Models (LMs) pretrained on a large amount of unlabelled data can dramatically improve various Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks. However, the measure and impact of similarity between pretraining data and target task data are left to intuition. We propose three cost-effective measures to quantify different aspects of similarity between source pretraining and target task data. We demonstrate that these measures are good predictors of the usefulness of pretrained models for Named Entity Recognition (NER) over 30 data pairs. Results also suggest that pretrained LMs are more effective and more predictable than pretrained word vectors, but pretrained word vectors are better when pretraining data is dissimilar.
Distributed representations of text can be used as features when training a statistical classifier. These representations may be created as a composition of word vectors or as context-based sentence vectors. We compare the two kinds of representations (word versus context) for three classification problems: influenza infection classification, drug usage classification and personal health mention classification. For statistical classifiers trained for each of these problems, context-based representations based on ELMo, Universal Sentence Encoder, Neural-Net Language Model and FLAIR are better than Word2Vec, GloVe and the two adapted using the MESH ontology. There is an improvement of 2-4% in the accuracy when these context-based representations are used instead of word-based representations.
Personal health mention detection deals with predicting whether or not a given sentence is a report of a health condition. Past work mentions errors in this prediction when symptom words, i.e., names of symptoms of interest, are used in a figurative sense. Therefore, we combine a state-of-the-art figurative usage detection with CNN-based personal health mention detection. To do so, we present two methods: a pipeline-based approach and a feature augmentation-based approach. The introduction of figurative usage detection results in an average improvement of 2.21% F-score of personal health mention detection, in the case of the feature augmentation-based approach. This paper demonstrates the promise of using figurative usage detection to improve personal health mention detection.
We identify agreement and disagreement between utterances that express stances towards a topic of discussion. Existing methods focus mainly on conversational settings, where dialogic features are used for (dis)agreement inference. We extend this scope and seek to detect stance (dis)agreement in a broader setting, where independent stance-bearing utterances, which prevail in many stance corpora and real-world scenarios, are compared. To cope with such non-dialogic utterances, we find that the reasons uttered to back up a specific stance can help predict stance (dis)agreements. We propose a reason comparing network (RCN) to leverage reason information for stance comparison. Empirical results on a well-known stance corpus show that our method can discover useful reason information, enabling it to outperform several baselines in stance (dis)agreement detection.
Named entity recognition (NER) is widely used in natural language processing applications and downstream tasks. However, most NER tools target flat annotation from popular datasets, eschewing the semantic information available in nested entity mentions. We describe NNE—a fine-grained, nested named entity dataset over the full Wall Street Journal portion of the Penn Treebank (PTB). Our annotation comprises 279,795 mentions of 114 entity types with up to 6 layers of nesting. We hope the public release of this large dataset for English newswire will encourage development of new techniques for nested NER.
Argument component extraction is a challenging and complex high-level semantic extraction task. As such, it is both expensive to annotate (meaning training data is limited and low-resource by nature), and hard for current-generation deep learning methods to model. In this paper, we reevaluate the performance of state-of-the-art approaches in both single- and multi-task learning settings using combinations of character-level, GloVe, ELMo, and BERT encodings using standard BiLSTM-CRF encoders. We use evaluation metrics that are more consistent with evaluation practice in named entity recognition to understand how well current baselines address this challenge and compare their performance to lower-level semantic tasks such as CoNLL named entity recognition. We find that performance utilizing various pre-trained representations and training methodologies often leaves a lot to be desired as it currently stands, and suggest future pathways for improvement.
Multi-Task Learning (MTL) has been an attractive approach to deal with limited labeled datasets or leverage related tasks, for a variety of NLP problems. We examine the benefit of MTL for three specific pairs of health informatics tasks that deal with: (a) overlapping symptoms for the same classification problem (personal health mention classification for influenza and for a set of symptoms); (b) overlapping medical concepts for related classification problems (vaccine usage and drug usage detection); and, (c) related classification problems (vaccination intent and vaccination relevance detection). We experiment with a simple neural architecture: a shared layer followed by task-specific dense layers. The novelty of this work is that it compares alternatives for shared layers for these pairs of tasks. While our observations agree with the promise of MTL as compared to single-task learning, for health informatics, we show that the benefit also comes with caveats in terms of the choice of shared layers and the relatedness between the participating tasks.
This paper describes a warrant classification system for SemEval 2018 Task 12, that attempts to learn semantic representations of reasons, claims and warrants. The system consists of 3 stacked LSTMs: one for the reason, one for the claim, and one shared Siamese Network for the 2 candidate warrants. Our main contribution is to force the embeddings into a shared feature space using vector operations, semantic similarity classification, Siamese networks, and multi-task learning. In doing so, we learn a form of generative implication, in encoding implication interrelationships between reasons, claims, and the associated correct and incorrect warrants. We augment the limited data in the task further by utilizing WordNet synonym “fuzzing”. When applied to SemEval 2018 Task 12, our system performs well on the development data, and officially ranked 8th among 21 teams.
Vaccination behaviour detection deals with predicting whether or not a person received/was about to receive a vaccine. We present our submission for vaccination behaviour detection shared task at the SMM4H workshop. Our findings are based on three prevalent text classification approaches: rule-based, statistical and deep learning-based. Our final submissions are: (1) an ensemble of statistical classifiers with task-specific features derived using lexicons, language processing tools and word embeddings; and, (2) a LSTM classifier with pre-trained language models.
In stance classification, the target on which the stance is made defines the boundary of the task, and a classifier is usually trained for prediction on the same target. In this work, we explore the potential for generalizing classifiers between different targets, and propose a neural model that can apply what has been learned from a source target to a destination target. We show that our model can find useful information shared between relevant targets which improves generalization in certain scenarios.
In social media, demographic inference is a critical task in order to gain a better understanding of a cohort and to facilitate interacting with one’s audience. Most previous work has made independence assumptions over topological, textual and label information on social networks. In this work, we employ recursive neural networks to break down these independence assumptions to obtain inference about demographic characteristics on Twitter. We show that our model performs better than existing models including the state-of-the-art.
The paper introduces a web-based authoring support system, MuTUAL, which aims to help writers create multilingual texts. The highlighted feature of the system is that it enables machine translation (MT) to generate outputs appropriate to their functional context within the target document. Our system is operational online, implementing core mechanisms for document structuring and controlled writing. These include a topic template and a controlled language authoring assistant, linked to our statistical MT system.