Building machine learning models for natural language understanding (NLU) tasks relies heavily on labeled data. Weak supervision has been proven valuable when large amount of labeled data is unavailable or expensive to obtain. Existing works studying weak supervision for NLU either mostly focus on a specific task or simulate weak supervision signals from ground-truth labels. It is thus hard to compare different approaches and evaluate the benefit of weak supervision without access to a unified and systematic benchmark with diverse tasks and real-world weak labeling rules. In this paper, we propose such a benchmark, named WALNUT, to advocate and facilitate research on weak supervision for NLU. WALNUT consists of NLU tasks with different types, including document-level and token-level prediction tasks. WALNUT is the first semi-weakly supervised learning benchmark for NLU, where each task contains weak labels generated by multiple real-world weak sources, together with a small set of clean labels. We conduct baseline evaluations on WALNUT to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of various weak supervision methods and model architectures. Our results demonstrate the benefit of weak supervision for low-resource NLU tasks and highlight interesting patterns across tasks. We expect WALNUT to stimulate further research on methodologies to leverage weak supervision more effectively. The benchmark and code for baselines are available at aka.ms/walnut_benchmark.
Recent work has raised concerns on the risk of spurious correlations and unintended biases in statistical machine learning models that threaten model robustness and fairness. In this paper, we propose a simple and intuitive regularization approach to integrate causal knowledge during model training and build a robust and fair model by emphasizing causal features and de-emphasizing spurious features. Specifically, we first manually identify causal and spurious features with principles inspired from the counterfactual framework of causal inference. Then, we propose a regularization approach to penalize causal and spurious features separately. By adjusting the strength of the penalty for each type of feature, we build a predictive model that relies more on causal features and less on non-causal features. We conduct experiments to evaluate model robustness and fairness on three datasets with multiple metrics. Empirical results show that the new models built with causal awareness significantly improve model robustness with respect to counterfactual texts and model fairness with respect to sensitive attributes.
In recent years, the task of generating realistic short and long texts have made tremendous advancements. In particular, several recently proposed neural network-based language models have demonstrated their astonishing capabilities to generate texts that are challenging to distinguish from human-written texts with the naked eye. Despite many benefits and utilities of such neural methods, in some applications, being able to tell the “author” of a text in question becomes critically important. In this work, in the context of this Turing Test, we investigate the so-called authorship attribution problem in three versions: (1) given two texts T1 and T2, are both generated by the same method or not? (2) is the given text T written by a human or machine? (3) given a text T and k candidate neural methods, can we single out the method (among k alternatives) that generated T? Against one humanwritten and eight machine-generated texts (i.e., CTRL, GPT, GPT2, GROVER, XLM, XLNET, PPLM, FAIR), we empirically experiment with the performance of various models in three problems. By and large, we find that most generators still generate texts significantly different from human-written ones, thereby making three problems easier to solve. However, the qualities of texts generated by GPT2, GROVER, and FAIR are better, often confusing machine classifiers in solving three problems. All codes and datasets of our experiments are available at: https://bit.ly/ 302zWdz