Compared to standard retrieval tasks, passage retrieval for conversational question answering (CQA) poses new challenges in understanding the current user question, as each question needs to be interpreted within the dialogue context. Moreover, it can be expensive to re-train well-established retrievers such as search engines that are originally developed for non-conversational queries. To facilitate their use, we develop a query rewriting model CONQRR that rewrites a conversational question in the context into a standalone question. It is trained with a novel reward function to directly optimize towards retrieval using reinforcement learning and can be adapted to any off-the-shelf retriever. CONQRR achieves state-of-the-art results on a recent open-domain CQA dataset containing conversations from three different sources, and is effective for two different off-the-shelf retrievers. Our extensive analysis also shows the robustness of CONQRR to out-of-domain dialogues as well as to zero query rewriting supervision.
Knowledge-grounded dialogue systems powered by large language models often generate responses that, while fluent, are not attributable to a relevant source of information. Progress towards models that do not exhibit this issue requires evaluation metrics that can quantify its prevalence. To this end, we introduce the Benchmark for Evaluation of Grounded INteraction (Begin), comprising 12k dialogue turns generated by neural dialogue systems trained on three knowledge-grounded dialogue corpora. We collect human annotations assessing the extent to which the models’ responses can be attributed to the given background information. We then use Begin to analyze eight evaluation metrics. We find that these metrics rely on spurious correlations, do not reliably distinguish attributable abstractive responses from unattributable ones, and perform substantially worse when the knowledge source is longer. Our findings underscore the need for more sophisticated and robust evaluation metrics for knowledge-grounded dialogue. We make Begin publicly available at https://github.com/google/BEGIN-dataset.
Knowledge-grounded dialogue systems are intended to convey information that is based on evidence provided in a given source text. We discuss the challenges of training a generative neural dialogue model for such systems that is controlled to stay faithful to the evidence. Existing datasets contain a mix of conversational responses that are faithful to selected evidence as well as more subjective or chit-chat style responses. We propose different evaluation measures to disentangle these different styles of responses by quantifying the informativeness and objectivity. At training time, additional inputs based on these evaluation measures are given to the dialogue model. At generation time, these additional inputs act as stylistic controls that encourage the model to generate responses that are faithful to the provided evidence. We also investigate the usage of additional controls at decoding time using resampling techniques. In addition to automatic metrics, we perform a human evaluation study where raters judge the output of these controlled generation models to be generally more objective and faithful to the evidence compared to baseline dialogue systems.
We propose the task of outline-conditioned story generation: given an outline as a set of phrases that describe key characters and events to appear in a story, the task is to generate a coherent narrative that is consistent with the provided outline. This task is challenging as the input only provides a rough sketch of the plot, and thus, models need to generate a story by interweaving the key points provided in the outline. This requires the model to keep track of the dynamic states of the latent plot, conditioning on the input outline while generating the full story. We present PlotMachines, a neural narrative model that learns to transform an outline into a coherent story by tracking the dynamic plot states. In addition, we enrich PlotMachines with high-level discourse structure so that the model can learn different writing styles corresponding to different parts of the narrative. Comprehensive experiments over three fiction and non-fiction datasets demonstrate that large-scale language models, such as GPT-2 and Grover, despite their impressive generation performance, are not sufficient in generating coherent narratives for the given outline, and dynamic plot state tracking is important for composing narratives with tighter, more consistent plots.
Unconscious biases continue to be prevalent in modern text and media, calling for algorithms that can assist writers with bias correction. For example, a female character in a story is often portrayed as passive and powerless (“_She daydreams about being a doctor_”) while a man is portrayed as more proactive and powerful (“_He pursues his dream of being a doctor_”). We formulate **Controllable Debiasing**, a new revision task that aims to rewrite a given text to correct the implicit and potentially undesirable bias in character portrayals. We then introduce PowerTransformer as an approach that debiases text through the lens of connotation frames (Sap et al., 2017), which encode pragmatic knowledge of implied power dynamics with respect to verb predicates. One key challenge of our task is the lack of parallel corpora. To address this challenge, we adopt an unsupervised approach using auxiliary supervision with related tasks such as paraphrasing and self-supervision based on a reconstruction loss, building on pretrained language models. Through comprehensive experiments based on automatic and human evaluations, we demonstrate that our approach outperforms ablations and existing methods from related tasks. Furthermore, we demonstrate the use of PowerTransformer as a step toward mitigating the well-documented gender bias in character portrayal in movie scripts.
We present the first comprehensive study on automatic knowledge base construction for two prevalent commonsense knowledge graphs: ATOMIC (Sap et al., 2019) and ConceptNet (Speer et al., 2017). Contrary to many conventional KBs that store knowledge with canonical templates, commonsense KBs only store loosely structured open-text descriptions of knowledge. We posit that an important step toward automatic commonsense completion is the development of generative models of commonsense knowledge, and propose COMmonsEnse Transformers (COMET) that learn to generate rich and diverse commonsense descriptions in natural language. Despite the challenges of commonsense modeling, our investigation reveals promising results when implicit knowledge from deep pre-trained language models is transferred to generate explicit knowledge in commonsense knowledge graphs. Empirical results demonstrate that COMET is able to generate novel knowledge that humans rate as high quality, with up to 77.5% (ATOMIC) and 91.7% (ConceptNet) precision at top 1, which approaches human performance for these resources. Our findings suggest that using generative commonsense models for automatic commonsense KB completion could soon be a plausible alternative to extractive methods.
One challenge for dialogue agents is recognizing feelings in the conversation partner and replying accordingly, a key communicative skill. While it is straightforward for humans to recognize and acknowledge others’ feelings in a conversation, this is a significant challenge for AI systems due to the paucity of suitable publicly-available datasets for training and evaluation. This work proposes a new benchmark for empathetic dialogue generation and EmpatheticDialogues, a novel dataset of 25k conversations grounded in emotional situations. Our experiments indicate that dialogue models that use our dataset are perceived to be more empathetic by human evaluators, compared to models merely trained on large-scale Internet conversation data. We also present empirical comparisons of dialogue model adaptations for empathetic responding, leveraging existing models or datasets without requiring lengthy re-training of the full model.
We introduce Social IQa, the first large-scale benchmark for commonsense reasoning about social situations. Social IQa contains 38,000 multiple choice questions for probing emotional and social intelligence in a variety of everyday situations (e.g., Q: “Jordan wanted to tell Tracy a secret, so Jordan leaned towards Tracy. Why did Jordan do this?” A: “Make sure no one else could hear”). Through crowdsourcing, we collect commonsense questions along with correct and incorrect answers about social interactions, using a new framework that mitigates stylistic artifacts in incorrect answers by asking workers to provide the right answer to a different but related question. Empirical results show that our benchmark is challenging for existing question-answering models based on pretrained language models, compared to human performance (>20% gap). Notably, we further establish Social IQa as a resource for transfer learning of commonsense knowledge, achieving state-of-the-art performance on multiple commonsense reasoning tasks (Winograd Schemas, COPA).
We investigate a new commonsense inference task: given an event described in a short free-form text (“X drinks coffee in the morning”), a system reasons about the likely intents (“X wants to stay awake”) and reactions (“X feels alert”) of the event’s participants. To support this study, we construct a new crowdsourced corpus of 25,000 event phrases covering a diverse range of everyday events and situations. We report baseline performance on this task, demonstrating that neural encoder-decoder models can successfully compose embedding representations of previously unseen events and reason about the likely intents and reactions of the event participants. In addition, we demonstrate how commonsense inference on people’s intents and reactions can help unveil the implicit gender inequality prevalent in modern movie scripts.
Understanding a narrative requires reading between the lines and reasoning about the unspoken but obvious implications about events and people’s mental states — a capability that is trivial for humans but remarkably hard for machines. To facilitate research addressing this challenge, we introduce a new annotation framework to explain naive psychology of story characters as fully-specified chains of mental states with respect to motivations and emotional reactions. Our work presents a new large-scale dataset with rich low-level annotations and establishes baseline performance on several new tasks, suggesting avenues for future research.
People around the globe respond to major real world events through social media. To study targeted public sentiments across many languages and geographic locations, we introduce multilingual connotation frames: an extension from English connotation frames of Rashkin et al. (2016) with 10 additional European languages, focusing on the implied sentiments among event participants engaged in a frame. As a case study, we present large scale analysis on targeted public sentiments toward salient events and entities using 1.2 million multilingual connotation frames extracted from Twitter.
The framing of an action influences how we perceive its actor. We introduce connotation frames of power and agency, a pragmatic formalism organized using frame semantic representations, to model how different levels of power and agency are implicitly projected on actors through their actions. We use the new power and agency frames to measure the subtle, but prevalent, gender bias in the portrayal of modern film characters and provide insights that deviate from the well-known Bechdel test. Our contributions include an extended lexicon of connotation frames along with a web interface that provides a comprehensive analysis through the lens of connotation frames.
We present an analytic study on the language of news media in the context of political fact-checking and fake news detection. We compare the language of real news with that of satire, hoaxes, and propaganda to find linguistic characteristics of untrustworthy text. To probe the feasibility of automatic political fact-checking, we also present a case study based on PolitiFact.com using their factuality judgments on a 6-point scale. Experiments show that while media fact-checking remains to be an open research question, stylistic cues can help determine the truthfulness of text.