Evaluation for many natural language understanding (NLU) tasks is broken: Unreliable and biased systems score so highly on standard benchmarks that there is little room for researchers who develop better systems to demonstrate their improvements. The recent trend to abandon IID benchmarks in favor of adversarially-constructed, out-of-distribution test sets ensures that current models will perform poorly, but ultimately only obscures the abilities that we want our benchmarks to measure. In this position paper, we lay out four criteria that we argue NLU benchmarks should meet. We argue most current benchmarks fail at these criteria, and that adversarial data collection does not meaningfully address the causes of these failures. Instead, restoring a healthy evaluation ecosystem will require significant progress in the design of benchmark datasets, the reliability with which they are annotated, their size, and the ways they handle social bias.
Natural language text exhibits hierarchical structure in a variety of respects. Ideally, we could incorporate our prior knowledge of this hierarchical structure into unsupervised learning algorithms that work on text data. Recent work by Nickel and Kiela (2017) proposed using hyperbolic instead of Euclidean embedding spaces to represent hierarchical data and demonstrated encouraging results when embedding graphs. In this work, we extend their method with a re-parameterization technique that allows us to learn hyperbolic embeddings of arbitrarily parameterized objects. We apply this framework to learn word and sentence embeddings in hyperbolic space in an unsupervised manner from text corpora. The resulting embeddings seem to encode certain intuitive notions of hierarchy, such as word-context frequency and phrase constituency. However, the implicit continuous hierarchy in the learned hyperbolic space makes interrogating the model’s learned hierarchies more difficult than for models that learn explicit edges between items. The learned hyperbolic embeddings show improvements over Euclidean embeddings in some – but not all – downstream tasks, suggesting that hierarchical organization is more useful for some tasks than others.
Neural language models are a critical component of state-of-the-art systems for machine translation, summarization, audio transcription, and other tasks. These language models are almost universally autoregressive in nature, generating sentences one token at a time from left to right. This paper studies the influence of token generation order on model quality via a novel two-pass language model that produces partially-filled sentence “templates” and then fills in missing tokens. We compare various strategies for structuring these two passes and observe a surprisingly large variation in model quality. We find the most effective strategy generates function words in the first pass followed by content words in the second. We believe these experimental results justify a more extensive investigation of the generation order for neural language models.