Jason Mars


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One Agent To Rule Them All: Towards Multi-agent Conversational AI
Christopher Clarke | Joseph Peper | Karthik Krishnamurthy | Walter Talamonti | Kevin Leach | Walter Lasecki | Yiping Kang | Lingjia Tang | Jason Mars
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

The increasing volume of commercially available conversational agents (CAs) on the market has resulted in users being burdened with learning and adopting multiple agents to accomplish their tasks. Though prior work has explored supporting a multitude of domains within the design of a single agent, the interaction experience suffers due to the large action space of desired capabilities. To address these problems, we introduce a new task BBAI: Black-Box Agent Integration, focusing on combining the capabilities of multiple black-box CAs at scale. We explore two techniques: question agent pairing and question response pairing aimed at resolving this task. Leveraging these techniques, we design One For All (OFA), a scalable system that provides a unified interface to interact with multiple CAs. Additionally, we introduce MARS: Multi-Agent Response Selection, a new encoder model for question response pairing that jointly encodes user question and agent response pairs. We demonstrate that OFA is able to automatically and accurately integrate an ensemble of commercially available CAs spanning disparate domains. Specifically, using the MARS encoder we achieve the highest accuracy on our BBAI task, outperforming strong baselines.


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An Evaluation Dataset for Intent Classification and Out-of-Scope Prediction
Stefan Larson | Anish Mahendran | Joseph J. Peper | Christopher Clarke | Andrew Lee | Parker Hill | Jonathan K. Kummerfeld | Kevin Leach | Michael A. Laurenzano | Lingjia Tang | Jason Mars
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Task-oriented dialog systems need to know when a query falls outside their range of supported intents, but current text classification corpora only define label sets that cover every example. We introduce a new dataset that includes queries that are out-of-scope—i.e., queries that do not fall into any of the system’s supported intents. This poses a new challenge because models cannot assume that every query at inference time belongs to a system-supported intent class. Our dataset also covers 150 intent classes over 10 domains, capturing the breadth that a production task-oriented agent must handle. We evaluate a range of benchmark classifiers on our dataset along with several different out-of-scope identification schemes. We find that while the classifiers perform well on in-scope intent classification, they struggle to identify out-of-scope queries. Our dataset and evaluation fill an important gap in the field, offering a way of more rigorously and realistically benchmarking text classification in task-driven dialog systems.

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Outlier Detection for Improved Data Quality and Diversity in Dialog Systems
Stefan Larson | Anish Mahendran | Andrew Lee | Jonathan K. Kummerfeld | Parker Hill | Michael A. Laurenzano | Johann Hauswald | Lingjia Tang | Jason Mars
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)

In a corpus of data, outliers are either errors: mistakes in the data that are counterproductive, or are unique: informative samples that improve model robustness. Identifying outliers can lead to better datasets by (1) removing noise in datasets and (2) guiding collection of additional data to fill gaps. However, the problem of detecting both outlier types has received relatively little attention in NLP, particularly for dialog systems. We introduce a simple and effective technique for detecting both erroneous and unique samples in a corpus of short texts using neural sentence embeddings combined with distance-based outlier detection. We also present a novel data collection pipeline built atop our detection technique to automatically and iteratively mine unique data samples while discarding erroneous samples. Experiments show that our outlier detection technique is effective at finding errors while our data collection pipeline yields highly diverse corpora that in turn produce more robust intent classification and slot-filling models.


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Data Collection for Dialogue System: A Startup Perspective
Yiping Kang | Yunqi Zhang | Jonathan K. Kummerfeld | Lingjia Tang | Jason Mars
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 3 (Industry Papers)

Industrial dialogue systems such as Apple Siri and Google Now rely on large scale diverse and robust training data to enable their sophisticated conversation capability. Crowdsourcing provides a scalable and inexpensive way of data collection but collecting high quality data efficiently requires thoughtful orchestration of the crowdsourcing jobs. Prior study of this topic have focused on tasks only in the academia settings with limited scope or only provide intrinsic dataset analysis, lacking indication on how it affects the trained model performance. In this paper, we present a study of crowdsourcing methods for a user intent classification task in our deployed dialogue system. Our task requires classification of 47 possible user intents and contains many intent pairs with subtle differences. We consider different crowdsourcing job types and job prompts and analyze quantitatively the quality of the collected data and the downstream model performance on a test set of real user queries from production logs. Our observation provides insights into designing efficient crowdsourcing jobs and provide recommendations for future dialogue system data collection process.