Etsuko Ishii


2022

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Can Question Rewriting Help Conversational Question Answering?
Etsuko Ishii | Yan Xu | Samuel Cahyawijaya | Bryan Wilie
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Insights from Negative Results in NLP

Question rewriting (QR) is a subtask of conversational question answering (CQA) aiming to ease the challenges of understanding dependencies among dialogue history by reformulating questions in a self-contained form. Despite seeming plausible, little evidence is available to justify QR as a mitigation method for CQA. To verify the effectiveness of QR in CQA, we investigate a reinforcement learning approach that integrates QR and CQA tasks and does not require corresponding QR datasets for targeted CQA.We find, however, that the RL method is on par with the end-to-end baseline. We provide an analysis of the failure and describe the difficulty of exploiting QR for CQA.

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Integrating Question Rewrites in Conversational Question Answering: A Reinforcement Learning Approach
Etsuko Ishii | Bryan Wilie | Yan Xu | Samuel Cahyawijaya | Pascale Fung
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Student Research Workshop

Resolving dependencies among dialogue history is one of the main obstacles in the research on conversational question answering (QA). The conversational question rewrites (QR) task has been shown to be effective to solve this problem by reformulating questions in a self-contained form. However, QR datasets are limited and existing methods tend to depend on the assumption of the existence of corresponding QR datasets for every CQA dataset.This paper proposes a reinforcement learning approach that integrates QR and CQA tasks without corresponding labeled QR datasets. We train a QR model based on the reward signal obtained from the CQA, and the experimental results show that our approach can bring improvement over the pipeline approaches.

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Retrieval-Free Knowledge-Grounded Dialogue Response Generation with Adapters
Yan Xu | Etsuko Ishii | Samuel Cahyawijaya | Zihan Liu | Genta Indra Winata | Andrea Madotto | Dan Su | Pascale Fung
Proceedings of the Second DialDoc Workshop on Document-grounded Dialogue and Conversational Question Answering

To diversify and enrich generated dialogue responses, knowledge-grounded dialogue has been investigated in recent years. The existing methods tackle the knowledge grounding challenge by retrieving the relevant sentences over a large corpus and augmenting the dialogues with explicit extra information. Despite their success, however, the existing works have drawbacks on the inference efficiency. This paper proposes KnowExpert, an end-to-end framework to bypass the explicit retrieval process and inject knowledge into the pre-trained language models with lightweight adapters and adapt to the knowledge-grounded dialogue task. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to tackle this challenge without retrieval in this task under an open-domain chit-chat scenario. The experimental results show that KnowExpert performs comparably with some retrieval-based baselines while being time-efficient in inference, demonstrating the effectiveness of our proposed method.

2021

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CAiRE in DialDoc21: Data Augmentation for Information Seeking Dialogue System
Yan Xu | Etsuko Ishii | Genta Indra Winata | Zhaojiang Lin | Andrea Madotto | Zihan Liu | Peng Xu | Pascale Fung
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Document-grounded Dialogue and Conversational Question Answering (DialDoc 2021)

Information-seeking dialogue systems, including knowledge identification and response generation, aim to respond to users with fluent, coherent, and informative responses based on users’ needs, which. To tackle this challenge, we utilize data augmentation methods and several training techniques with the pre-trained language models to learn a general pattern of the task and thus achieve promising performance. In DialDoc21 competition, our system achieved 74.95 F1 score and 60.74 Exact Match score in subtask 1, and 37.72 SacreBLEU score in subtask 2. Empirical analysis is provided to explain the effectiveness of our approaches.

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XPersona: Evaluating Multilingual Personalized Chatbot
Zhaojiang Lin | Zihan Liu | Genta Indra Winata | Samuel Cahyawijaya | Andrea Madotto | Yejin Bang | Etsuko Ishii | Pascale Fung
Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Conversational AI

Personalized dialogue systems are an essential step toward better human-machine interaction. Existing personalized dialogue agents rely on properly designed conversational datasets, which are mostly monolingual (e.g., English), which greatly limits the usage of conversational agents in other languages. In this paper, we propose a multi-lingual extension of Persona-Chat, namely XPersona. Our dataset includes persona conversations in six different languages other than English for evaluating multilingual personalized agents. We experiment with both multilingual and cross-lingual trained baselines and evaluate them against monolingual and translation-pipeline models using both automatic and human evaluation. Experimental results show that the multilingual trained models outperform the translation pipeline and that they are on par with the monolingual models, with the advantage of having a single model across multiple languages. On the other hand, the state-of-the-art cross-lingual trained models achieve inferior performance to the other models, showing that cross-lingual conversation modeling is a challenging task. We hope that our dataset and baselines will accelerate research in multilingual dialogue systems.

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ERICA: An Empathetic Android Companion for Covid-19 Quarantine
Etsuko Ishii | Genta Indra Winata | Samuel Cahyawijaya | Divesh Lala | Tatsuya Kawahara | Pascale Fung
Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

Over the past year, research in various domains, including Natural Language Processing (NLP), has been accelerated to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, yet such research has just started on dialogue systems. In this paper, we introduce an end-to-end dialogue system which aims to ease the isolation of people under self-quarantine. We conduct a control simulation experiment to assess the effects of the user interface: a web-based virtual agent, Nora vs. the android ERICA via a video call. The experimental results show that the android can offer a more valuable user experience by giving the impression of being more empathetic and engaging in the conversation due to its nonverbal information, such as facial expressions and body gestures.

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Assessing Political Prudence of Open-domain Chatbots
Yejin Bang | Nayeon Lee | Etsuko Ishii | Andrea Madotto | Pascale Fung
Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

Politically sensitive topics are still a challenge for open-domain chatbots. However, dealing with politically sensitive content in a responsible, non-partisan, and safe behavior way is integral for these chatbots. Currently, the main approach to handling political sensitivity is by simply changing such a topic when it is detected. This is safe but evasive and results in a chatbot that is less engaging. In this work, as a first step towards a politically safe chatbot, we propose a group of metrics for assessing their political prudence. We then conduct political prudence analysis of various chatbots and discuss their behavior from multiple angles through our automatic metric and human evaluation metrics. The testsets and codebase are released to promote research in this area.

2020

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Plug-and-Play Conversational Models
Andrea Madotto | Etsuko Ishii | Zhaojiang Lin | Sumanth Dathathri | Pascale Fung
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

There has been considerable progress made towards conversational models that generate coherent and fluent responses; however, this often involves training large language models on large dialogue datasets, such as Reddit. These large conversational models provide little control over the generated responses, and this control is further limited in the absence of annotated conversational datasets for attribute specific generation that can be used for fine-tuning the model. In this paper, we first propose and evaluate plug-and-play methods for controllable response generation, which does not require dialogue specific datasets and does not rely on fine-tuning a large model. While effective, the decoding procedure induces considerable computational overhead, rendering the conversational model unsuitable for interactive usage. To overcome this, we introduce an approach that does not require further computation at decoding time, while also does not require any fine-tuning of a large language model. We demonstrate, through extensive automatic and human evaluation, a high degree of control over the generated conversational responses with regard to multiple desired attributes, while being fluent.

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Image Position Prediction in Multimodal Documents
Masayasu Muraoka | Ryosuke Kohita | Etsuko Ishii
Proceedings of the 12th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Conventional multimodal tasks, such as caption generation and visual question answering, have allowed machines to understand an image by describing or being asked about it in natural language, often via a sentence. Datasets for these tasks contain a large number of pairs of an image and the corresponding sentence as an instance. However, a real multimodal document such as a news article or Wikipedia page consists of multiple sentences with multiple images. Such documents require an advanced skill of jointly considering the multiple texts and multiple images, beyond a single sentence and image, for the interpretation. Therefore, aiming at building a system that can understand multimodal documents, we propose a task called image position prediction (IPP). In this task, a system learns plausible positions of images in a given document. To study this task, we automatically constructed a dataset of 66K multimodal documents with 320K images from Wikipedia articles. We conducted a preliminary experiment to evaluate the performance of a current multimodal system on our task. The experimental results show that the system outperformed simple baselines while the performance is still far from human performance, which thus poses new challenges in multimodal research.