Trading Off Diversity and Quality in Natural Language Generation
Proceedings of the Workshop on Human Evaluation of NLP Systems (HumEval)
For open-ended language generation tasks such as storytelling or dialogue, choosing the right decoding algorithm is vital for controlling the tradeoff between generation quality and diversity. However, there presently exists no consensus on which decoding procedure is best or even the criteria by which to compare them. In this paper, we cast decoding as a tradeoff between response quality and diversity, and we perform the first large-scale evaluation of decoding methods along the entire quality-diversity spectrum. Our experiments confirm the existence of the likelihood trap: the counter-intuitive observation that high likelihood sequences are often surprisingly low quality. We also find that when diversity is a priority, all methods perform similarly, but when quality is viewed as more important, nucleus sampling (Holtzman et al., 2019) outperforms all other evaluated decoding algorithms.
Unifying Human and Statistical Evaluation for Natural Language Generation
Tatsunori B. Hashimoto
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)
How can we measure whether a natural language generation system produces both high quality and diverse outputs? Human evaluation captures quality but not diversity, as it does not catch models that simply plagiarize from the training set. On the other hand, statistical evaluation (i.e., perplexity) captures diversity but not quality, as models that occasionally emit low quality samples would be insufficiently penalized. In this paper, we propose a unified framework which evaluates both diversity and quality, based on the optimal error rate of predicting whether a sentence is human- or machine-generated. We demonstrate that this error rate can be efficiently estimated by combining human and statistical evaluation, using an evaluation metric which we call HUSE. On summarization and chit-chat dialogue, we show that (i) HUSE detects diversity defects which fool pure human evaluation and that (ii) techniques such as annealing for improving quality actually decrease HUSE due to decreased diversity.