Michael Saxon


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CausalDialogue: Modeling Utterance-level Causality in Conversations
Yi-Lin Tuan | Alon Albalak | Wenda Xu | Michael Saxon | Connor Pryor | Lise Getoor | William Yang Wang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Despite their widespread adoption, neural conversation models have yet to exhibit natural chat capabilities with humans. In this research, we examine user utterances as causes and generated responses as effects, recognizing that changes in a cause should produce a different effect. To further explore this concept, we have compiled and expanded upon a new dataset called CausalDialogue through crowd-sourcing. This dataset includes multiple cause-effect pairs within a directed acyclic graph (DAG) structure. Our analysis reveals that traditional loss functions struggle to effectively incorporate the DAG structure, leading us to propose a causality-enhanced method called Exponential Maximum Average Treatment Effect (ExMATE) to enhance the impact of causality at the utterance level in training neural conversation models. To evaluate the needs of considering causality in dialogue generation, we built a comprehensive benchmark on CausalDialogue dataset using different models, inference, and training methods. Through experiments, we find that a causality-inspired loss like ExMATE can improve the diversity and agility of conventional loss function and there is still room for improvement to reach human-level quality on this new dataset.

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Let’s Think Frame by Frame with VIP: A Video Infilling and Prediction Dataset for Evaluating Video Chain-of-Thought
Vaishnavi Himakunthala | Andy Ouyang | Daniel Rose | Ryan He | Alex Mei | Yujie Lu | Chinmay Sonar | Michael Saxon | William Wang
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Despite exciting recent results showing vision-language systems’ capacity to reason about images using natural language, their capacity for video reasoning remains underexplored. We motivate framing video reasoning as the sequential understanding of a small number of keyframes, thereby leveraging the power and robustness of vision-language while alleviating the computational complexities of processing videos. To evaluate this novel application, we introduce VIP, an inference-time challenge dataset designed to explore models’ reasoning capabilities through video chain-of-thought. Inspired by visually descriptive scene plays, we propose two formats for keyframe description: unstructured dense captions and structured scene descriptions that identify the focus, action, mood, objects, and setting (FAMOuS) of the keyframe. To evaluate video reasoning, we propose two tasks: Video Infilling and Video Prediction, which test abilities to generate multiple intermediate keyframes and predict future keyframes, respectively. We benchmark GPT-4, GPT-3, and VICUNA on VIP, demonstrate the performance gap in these complex video reasoning tasks, and encourage future work to prioritize language models for efficient and generalized video reasoning.

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Multilingual Conceptual Coverage in Text-to-Image Models
Michael Saxon | William Yang Wang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We propose “Conceptual Coverage Across Languages” (CoCo-CroLa), a technique for benchmarking the degree to which any generative text-to-image system provides multilingual parity to its training language in terms of tangible nouns. For each model we can assess “conceptual coverage” of a given target language relative to a source language by comparing the population of images generated for a series of tangible nouns in the source language to the population of images generated for each noun under translation in the target language. This technique allows us to estimate how well-suited a model is to a target language as well as identify model-specific weaknesses, spurious correlations, and biases without a-priori assumptions. We demonstrate how it can be used to benchmark T2I models in terms of multilinguality, and how despite its simplicity it is a good proxy for impressive generalization.

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PECO: Examining Single Sentence Label Leakage in Natural Language Inference Datasets through Progressive Evaluation of Cluster Outliers
Michael Saxon | Xinyi Wang | Wenda Xu | William Yang Wang
Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Building natural language inference (NLI) benchmarks that are both challenging for modern techniques, and free from shortcut biases is difficult. Chief among these biases is “single sentence label leakage,” where annotator-introduced spurious correlations yield datasets where the logical relation between (premise, hypothesis) pairs can be accurately predicted from only a single sentence, something that should in principle be impossible. We demonstrate that despite efforts to reduce this leakage, it persists in modern datasets that have been introduced since its 2018 discovery. To enable future amelioration efforts, introduce a novel model-driven technique, the progressive evaluation of cluster outliers (PECO) which enables both the objective measurement of leakage, and the automated detection of subpopulations in the data which maximally exhibit it.


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Not All Errors are Equal: Learning Text Generation Metrics using Stratified Error Synthesis
Wenda Xu | Yi-Lin Tuan | Yujie Lu | Michael Saxon | Lei Li | William Yang Wang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Is it possible to build a general and automatic natural language generation (NLG) evaluation metric? Existing learned metrics either perform unsatisfactorily or are restricted to tasks where large human rating data is already available. We introduce SESCORE, a model-based metric that is highly correlated with human judgements without requiring human annotation, by utilizing a novel, iterative error synthesis and severity scoring pipeline. This pipeline applies a series of plausible errors to raw text and assigns severity labels by simulating human judgements with entailment. We evaluate SESCORE against existing metrics by comparing how their scores correlate with human ratings. SESCORE outperforms all prior unsupervised metrics on multiple diverse NLG tasks including machine translation, image captioning, and WebNLG text generation. For WMT 20/21En-De and Zh-En, SESCORE improve the average Kendall correlation with human judgement from 0.154 to 0.195. SESCORE even achieves comparable performance to the best supervised metric COMET, despite receiving no human annotated training data.


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Investigating Memorization of Conspiracy Theories in Text Generation
Sharon Levy | Michael Saxon | William Yang Wang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021

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Modeling Disclosive Transparency in NLP Application Descriptions
Michael Saxon | Sharon Levy | Xinyi Wang | Alon Albalak | William Yang Wang
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Broader disclosive transparency—truth and clarity in communication regarding the function of AI systems—is widely considered desirable. Unfortunately, it is a nebulous concept, difficult to both define and quantify. This is problematic, as previous work has demonstrated possible trade-offs and negative consequences to disclosive transparency, such as a confusion effect, where “too much information” clouds a reader’s understanding of what a system description means. Disclosive transparency’s subjective nature has rendered deep study into these problems and their remedies difficult. To improve this state of affairs, We introduce neural language model-based probabilistic metrics to directly model disclosive transparency, and demonstrate that they correlate with user and expert opinions of system transparency, making them a valid objective proxy. Finally, we demonstrate the use of these metrics in a pilot study quantifying the relationships between transparency, confusion, and user perceptions in a corpus of real NLP system descriptions.