Human communication relies on common ground (CG), the mutual knowledge and beliefs shared by participants, to produce coherent and interesting conversations. In this paper, we demonstrate that current response generation (RG) models produce generic and dull responses in dialogues because they act reflexively, failing to explicitly model CG, both due to the lack of CG in training data and the standard RG training procedure. We introduce Reflect, a dataset that annotates dialogues with explicit CG (materialized as inferences approximating shared knowledge and beliefs) and solicits 9k diverse human-generated responses each following one common ground. Using Reflect, we showcase the limitations of current dialogue data and RG models: less than half of the responses in current data is rated as high quality (sensible, specific, and interesting) and models trained using this data have even lower quality, while most Reflect responses are judged high quality. Next, we analyze whether CG can help models produce better quality responses by using Reflect CG to guide RG models. Surprisingly, we find that simply prompting GPT3 to “think” about CG generates 30% more quality responses, showing promising benefits to integrating CG into the RG process.
Task transfer, transferring knowledge contained in related tasks, holds the promise of reducing the quantity of labeled data required to fine-tune language models. Dialogue understanding encompasses many diverse tasks, yet task transfer has not been thoroughly studied in conversational AI. This work explores conversational task transfer by introducing FETA: a benchmark for FEw-sample TAsk transfer in open-domain dialogue.FETA contains two underlying sets of conversations upon which there are 10 and 7 tasks annotated, enabling the study of intra-dataset task transfer; task transfer without domain adaptation. We utilize three popular language models and three learning algorithms to analyze the transferability between 132 source-target task pairs and create a baseline for future work.We run experiments in the single- and multi-source settings and report valuable findings, e.g., most performance trends are model-specific, and span extraction and multiple-choice tasks benefit the most from task transfer.In addition to task transfer, FETA can be a valuable resource for future research into the efficiency and generalizability of pre-training datasets and model architectures, as well as for learning settings such as continual and multitask learning.
Humans use commonsense reasoning (CSR) implicitly to produce natural and coherent responses in conversations. Aiming to close the gap between current response generation (RG) models and human communication abilities, we want to understand why RG models respond as they do by probing RG model’s understanding of commonsense reasoning that elicits proper responses. We formalize the problem by framing commonsense as a latent variable in the RG task and using explanations for responses as textual form of commonsense. We collect 6k annotated explanations justifying responses from four dialogue datasets and ask humans to verify them and propose two probing settings to evaluate RG models’ CSR capabilities. Probing results show that models fail to capture the logical relations between commonsense explanations and responses and fine-tuning on in-domain data and increasing model sizes do not lead to understanding of CSR for RG. We hope our study motivates more research in making RG models emulate the human reasoning process in pursuit of smooth human-AI communication.