Explaining neural network models is important for increasing their trustworthiness in real-world applications. Most existing methods generate post-hoc explanations for neural network models by identifying individual feature attributions or detecting interactions between adjacent features. However, for models with text pairs as inputs (e.g., paraphrase identification), existing methods are not sufficient to capture feature interactions between two texts and their simple extension of computing all word-pair interactions between two texts is computationally inefficient. In this work, we propose the Group Mask (GMASK) method to implicitly detect word correlations by grouping correlated words from the input text pair together and measure their contribution to the corresponding NLP tasks as a whole. The proposed method is evaluated with two different model architectures (decomposable attention model and BERT) across four datasets, including natural language inference and paraphrase identification tasks. Experiments show the effectiveness of GMASK in providing faithful explanations to these models.
Existing benchmarks used to evaluate the performance of end-to-end neural dialog systems lack a key component: natural variation present in human conversations. Most datasets are constructed through crowdsourcing, where the crowd workers follow a fixed template of instructions while enacting the role of a user/agent. This results in straight-forward, somewhat routine, and mostly trouble-free conversations, as crowd workers do not think to represent the full range of actions that occur naturally with real users. In this work, we investigate the impact of naturalistic variation on two goal-oriented datasets: bAbI dialog task and Stanford Multi-Domain Dataset (SMD). We also propose new and more effective testbeds for both datasets, by introducing naturalistic variation by the user. We observe that there is a significant drop in performance (more than 60% in Ent. F1 on SMD and 85% in per-dialog accuracy on bAbI task) of recent state-of-the-art end-to-end neural methods such as BossNet and GLMP on both datasets.
A frequent pattern in customer care conversations is the agents responding with appropriate webpage URLs that address users’ needs. We study the task of predicting the documents that customer care agents can use to facilitate users’ needs. We also introduce a new public dataset which supports the aforementioned problem. Using this dataset and two others, we investigate state-of-the art deep learning (DL) and information retrieval (IR) models for the task. Additionally, we analyze the practicality of such systems in terms of inference time complexity. Our show that an hybrid IR+DL approach provides the best of both worlds.
Customer support agents play a crucial role as an interface between an organization and its end-users. We propose CAIRAA: Conversational Approach to Information Retrieval for Agent Assistance, to reduce the cognitive workload of support agents who engage with users through conversation systems. CAIRAA monitors an evolving conversation and recommends both responses and URLs of documents the agent can use in replies to their client. We combine traditional information retrieval (IR) approaches with more recent Deep Learning (DL) models to ensure high accuracy and efficient run-time performance in the deployed system. Here, we describe the CAIRAA system and demonstrate its effectiveness in a pilot study via a short video.
Many Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks depend on using Named Entities (NEs) that are contained in texts and in external knowledge sources. While this is easy for humans, the present neural methods that rely on learned word embeddings may not perform well for these NLP tasks, especially in the presence of Out-Of-Vocabulary (OOV) or rare NEs. In this paper, we propose a solution for this problem, and present empirical evaluations on: a) a structured Question-Answering task, b) three related Goal-Oriented dialog tasks, and c) a Reading-Comprehension task, which show that the proposed method can be effective in dealing with both in-vocabulary and OOV NEs. We create extended versions of dialog bAbI tasks 1,2 and 4 and OOV versions of the CBT test set which are available at - https://github.com/IBM/ne-table-datasets/
Neural end-to-end goal-oriented dialog systems showed promise to reduce the workload of human agents for customer service, as well as reduce wait time for users. However, their inability to handle new user behavior at deployment has limited their usage in real world. In this work, we propose an end-to-end trainable method for neural goal-oriented dialog systems that handles new user behaviors at deployment by transferring the dialog to a human agent intelligently. The proposed method has three goals: 1) maximize user’s task success by transferring to human agents, 2) minimize the load on the human agents by transferring to them only when it is essential, and 3) learn online from the human agent’s responses to reduce human agents’ load further. We evaluate our proposed method on a modified-bAbI dialog task, which simulates the scenario of new user behaviors occurring at test time. Experimental results show that our proposed method is effective in achieving the desired goals.
Disentangling conversations mixed together in a single stream of messages is a difficult task, made harder by the lack of large manually annotated datasets. We created a new dataset of 77,563 messages manually annotated with reply-structure graphs that both disentangle conversations and define internal conversation structure. Our data is 16 times larger than all previously released datasets combined, the first to include adjudication of annotation disagreements, and the first to include context. We use our data to re-examine prior work, in particular, finding that 89% of conversations in a widely used dialogue corpus are either missing messages or contain extra messages. Our manually-annotated data presents an opportunity to develop robust data-driven methods for conversation disentanglement, which will help advance dialogue research.
In a dialog, there could be multiple valid next utterances at any point. The present end-to-end neural methods for dialog do not take this into account. They learn with the assumption that at any time there is only one correct next utterance. In this work, we focus on this problem in the goal-oriented dialog setting where there are different paths to reach a goal. We propose a new method, that uses a combination of supervised learning and reinforcement learning approaches to address this issue. We also propose a new and more effective testbed, permuted-bAbI dialog tasks, by introducing multiple valid next utterances to the original-bAbI dialog tasks, which allows evaluation of end-to-end goal-oriented dialog systems in a more realistic setting. We show that there is a significant drop in performance of existing end-to-end neural methods from 81.5% per-dialog accuracy on original-bAbI dialog tasks to 30.3% on permuted-bAbI dialog tasks. We also show that our proposed method improves the performance and achieves 47.3% per-dialog accuracy on permuted-bAbI dialog tasks. We also release permuted-bAbI dialog tasks, our proposed testbed, to the community for evaluating dialog systems in a goal-oriented setting.