Adversarial examples expose the vulnerabilities of natural language processing (NLP) models, and can be used to evaluate and improve their robustness. Existing techniques of generating such examples are typically driven by local heuristic rules that are agnostic to the context, often resulting in unnatural and ungrammatical outputs. This paper presents CLARE, a ContextuaLized AdversaRial Example generation model that produces fluent and grammatical outputs through a mask-then-infill procedure. CLARE builds on a pre-trained masked language model and modifies the inputs in a context-aware manner. We propose three contextualized perturbations, Replace, Insert and Merge, that allow for generating outputs of varied lengths. CLARE can flexibly combine these perturbations and apply them at any position in the inputs, and is thus able to attack the victim model more effectively with fewer edits. Extensive experiments and human evaluation demonstrate that CLARE outperforms the baselines in terms of attack success rate, textual similarity, fluency and grammaticality.
Multi-head attentive neural architectures have achieved state-of-the-art results on a variety of natural language processing tasks. Evidence has shown that they are overparameterized; attention heads can be pruned without significant performance loss. In this work, we instead “reallocate” them—the model learns to activate different heads on different inputs. Drawing connections between multi-head attention and mixture of experts, we propose the mixture of attentive experts model (MAE). MAE is trained using a block coordinate descent algorithm that alternates between updating (1) the responsibilities of the experts and (2) their parameters. Experiments on machine translation and language modeling show that MAE outperforms strong baselines on both tasks. Particularly, on the WMT14 English to German translation dataset, MAE improves over “transformer-base” by 0.8 BLEU, with a comparable number of parameters. Our analysis shows that our model learns to specialize different experts to different inputs.
We introduce a new task, Contextual Text Style Transfer - translating a sentence into a desired style with its surrounding context taken into account. This brings two key challenges to existing style transfer approaches: (I) how to preserve the semantic meaning of target sentence and its consistency with surrounding context during transfer; (ii) how to train a robust model with limited labeled data accompanied by context. To realize high-quality style transfer with natural context preservation, we propose a Context-Aware Style Transfer (CAST) model, which uses two separate encoders for each input sentence and its surrounding context. A classifier is further trained to ensure contextual consistency of the generated sentence. To compensate for the lack of parallel data, additional self-reconstruction and back-translation losses are introduced to leverage non-parallel data in a semi-supervised fashion. Two new benchmarks, Enron-Context and Reddit-Context, are introduced for formality and offensiveness style transfer. Experimental results on these datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed CAST model over state-of-the-art methods across style accuracy, content preservation and contextual consistency metrics.
Text style transfer without parallel data has achieved some practical success. However, in the scenario where less data is available, these methods may yield poor performance. In this paper, we examine domain adaptation for text style transfer to leverage massively available data from other domains. These data may demonstrate domain shift, which impedes the benefits of utilizing such data for training. To address this challenge, we propose simple yet effective domain adaptive text style transfer models, enabling domain-adaptive information exchange. The proposed models presumably learn from the source domain to: (i) distinguish stylized information and generic content information; (ii) maximally preserve content information; and (iii) adaptively transfer the styles in a domain-aware manner. We evaluate the proposed models on two style transfer tasks (sentiment and formality) over multiple target domains where only limited non-parallel data is available. Extensive experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed model compared to the baselines.