Ranit Aharonov


2021

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TWEETSUMM - A Dialog Summarization Dataset for Customer Service
Guy Feigenblat | Chulaka Gunasekara | Benjamin Sznajder | Sachindra Joshi | David Konopnicki | Ranit Aharonov
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

In a typical customer service chat scenario, customers contact a support center to ask for help or raise complaints, and human agents try to solve the issues. In most cases, at the end of the conversation, agents are asked to write a short summary emphasizing the problem and the proposed solution, usually for the benefit of other agents that may have to deal with the same customer or issue. The goal of the present article is advancing the automation of this task. We introduce the first large scale, high quality, customer care dialog summarization dataset with close to 6500 human annotated summaries. The data is based on real-world customer support dialogs and includes both extractive and abstractive summaries. We also introduce a new unsupervised, extractive summarization method specific to dialogs.

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Using Question Answering Rewards to Improve Abstractive Summarization
Chulaka Gunasekara | Guy Feigenblat | Benjamin Sznajder | Ranit Aharonov | Sachindra Joshi
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Neural abstractive summarization models have drastically improved in the recent years. However, the summaries generated by these models generally suffer from issues such as: not capturing the critical facts in source documents, and containing facts that are inconsistent with the source documents. In this work, we present a general framework to train abstractive summarization models to alleviate such issues. We first train a sequence-to-sequence model to summarize documents, and then further train this model in a Reinforcement Learning setting with question-answering based rewards. We evaluate the summaries generated by the this framework using multiple automatic measures and human judgements. The experimental results show that the question-answering rewards can be used as a general framework to improve neural abstractive summarization. Particularly, the results from human evaluations show that the summaries generated by our approach is preferred over 30% of the time over the summaries generated by general abstractive summarization models.

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Overview of the 2021 Key Point Analysis Shared Task
Roni Friedman | Lena Dankin | Yufang Hou | Ranit Aharonov | Yoav Katz | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on Argument Mining

We describe the 2021 Key Point Analysis (KPA-2021) shared task on key point analysis that we organized as a part of the 8th Workshop on Argument Mining (ArgMining 2021) at EMNLP 2021. We outline various approaches and discuss the results of the shared task. We expect the task and the findings reported in this paper to be relevant for researchers working on text summarization and argument mining.

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YASO: A Targeted Sentiment Analysis Evaluation Dataset for Open-Domain Reviews
Matan Orbach | Orith Toledo-Ronen | Artem Spector | Ranit Aharonov | Yoav Katz | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Current TSA evaluation in a cross-domain setup is restricted to the small set of review domains available in existing datasets. Such an evaluation is limited, and may not reflect true performance on sites like Amazon or Yelp that host diverse reviews from many domains. To address this gap, we present YASO – a new TSA evaluation dataset of open-domain user reviews. YASO contains 2,215 English sentences from dozens of review domains, annotated with target terms and their sentiment. Our analysis verifies the reliability of these annotations, and explores the characteristics of the collected data. Benchmark results using five contemporary TSA systems show there is ample room for improvement on this challenging new dataset. YASO is available at https://github.com/IBM/yaso-tsa.

2020

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Active Learning for BERT: An Empirical Study
Liat Ein-Dor | Alon Halfon | Ariel Gera | Eyal Shnarch | Lena Dankin | Leshem Choshen | Marina Danilevsky | Ranit Aharonov | Yoav Katz | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Real world scenarios present a challenge for text classification, since labels are usually expensive and the data is often characterized by class imbalance. Active Learning (AL) is a ubiquitous paradigm to cope with data scarcity. Recently, pre-trained NLP models, and BERT in particular, are receiving massive attention due to their outstanding performance in various NLP tasks. However, the use of AL with deep pre-trained models has so far received little consideration. Here, we present a large-scale empirical study on active learning techniques for BERT-based classification, addressing a diverse set of AL strategies and datasets. We focus on practical scenarios of binary text classification, where the annotation budget is very small, and the data is often skewed. Our results demonstrate that AL can boost BERT performance, especially in the most realistic scenario in which the initial set of labeled examples is created using keyword-based queries, resulting in a biased sample of the minority class. We release our research framework, aiming to facilitate future research along the lines explored here.

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A Survey of the State of Explainable AI for Natural Language Processing
Marina Danilevsky | Kun Qian | Ranit Aharonov | Yannis Katsis | Ban Kawas | Prithviraj Sen
Proceedings of the 1st Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 10th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing

Recent years have seen important advances in the quality of state-of-the-art models, but this has come at the expense of models becoming less interpretable. This survey presents an overview of the current state of Explainable AI (XAI), considered within the domain of Natural Language Processing (NLP). We discuss the main categorization of explanations, as well as the various ways explanations can be arrived at and visualized. We detail the operations and explainability techniques currently available for generating explanations for NLP model predictions, to serve as a resource for model developers in the community. Finally, we point out the current gaps and encourage directions for future work in this important research area.

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Unsupervised Expressive Rules Provide Explainability and Assist Human Experts Grasping New Domains
Eyal Shnarch | Leshem Choshen | Guy Moshkowich | Ranit Aharonov | Noam Slonim
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Approaching new data can be quite deterrent; you do not know how your categories of interest are realized in it, commonly, there is no labeled data at hand, and the performance of domain adaptation methods is unsatisfactory. Aiming to assist domain experts in their first steps into a new task over a new corpus, we present an unsupervised approach to reveal complex rules which cluster the unexplored corpus by its prominent categories (or facets). These rules are human-readable, thus providing an important ingredient which has become in short supply lately - explainability. Each rule provides an explanation for the commonality of all the texts it clusters together. The experts can then identify which rules best capture texts of their categories of interest, and utilize them to deepen their understanding of these categories. These rules can also bootstrap the process of data labeling by pointing at a subset of the corpus which is enriched with texts demonstrating the target categories. We present an extensive evaluation of the usefulness of these rules in identifying target categories, as well as a user study which assesses their interpretability.

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Out of the Echo Chamber: Detecting Countering Debate Speeches
Matan Orbach | Yonatan Bilu | Assaf Toledo | Dan Lahav | Michal Jacovi | Ranit Aharonov | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

An educated and informed consumption of media content has become a challenge in modern times. With the shift from traditional news outlets to social media and similar venues, a major concern is that readers are becoming encapsulated in “echo chambers” and may fall prey to fake news and disinformation, lacking easy access to dissenting views. We suggest a novel task aiming to alleviate some of these concerns – that of detecting articles that most effectively counter the arguments – and not just the stance – made in a given text. We study this problem in the context of debate speeches. Given such a speech, we aim to identify, from among a set of speeches on the same topic and with an opposing stance, the ones that directly counter it. We provide a large dataset of 3,685 such speeches (in English), annotated for this relation, which hopefully would be of general interest to the NLP community. We explore several algorithms addressing this task, and while some are successful, all fall short of expert human performance, suggesting room for further research. All data collected during this work is freely available for research.

2019

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Towards Effective Rebuttal: Listening Comprehension Using Corpus-Wide Claim Mining
Tamar Lavee | Matan Orbach | Lili Kotlerman | Yoav Kantor | Shai Gretz | Lena Dankin | Michal Jacovi | Yonatan Bilu | Ranit Aharonov | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 6th Workshop on Argument Mining

Engaging in a live debate requires, among other things, the ability to effectively rebut arguments claimed by your opponent. In particular, this requires identifying these arguments. Here, we suggest doing so by automatically mining claims from a corpus of news articles containing billions of sentences, and searching for them in a given speech. This raises the question of whether such claims indeed correspond to those made in spoken speeches. To this end, we collected a large dataset of 400 speeches in English discussing 200 controversial topics, mined claims for each topic, and asked annotators to identify the mined claims mentioned in each speech. Results show that in the vast majority of speeches debaters indeed make use of such claims. In addition, we present several baselines for the automatic detection of mined claims in speeches, forming the basis for future work. All collected data is freely available for research.

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Are You Convinced? Choosing the More Convincing Evidence with a Siamese Network
Martin Gleize | Eyal Shnarch | Leshem Choshen | Lena Dankin | Guy Moshkowich | Ranit Aharonov | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

With the advancement in argument detection, we suggest to pay more attention to the challenging task of identifying the more convincing arguments. Machines capable of responding and interacting with humans in helpful ways have become ubiquitous. We now expect them to discuss with us the more delicate questions in our world, and they should do so armed with effective arguments. But what makes an argument more persuasive? What will convince you? In this paper, we present a new data set, IBM-EviConv, of pairs of evidence labeled for convincingness, designed to be more challenging than existing alternatives. We also propose a Siamese neural network architecture shown to outperform several baselines on both a prior convincingness data set and our own. Finally, we provide insights into our experimental results and the various kinds of argumentative value our method is capable of detecting.

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From Surrogacy to Adoption; From Bitcoin to Cryptocurrency: Debate Topic Expansion
Roy Bar-Haim | Dalia Krieger | Orith Toledo-Ronen | Lilach Edelstein | Yonatan Bilu | Alon Halfon | Yoav Katz | Amir Menczel | Ranit Aharonov | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

When debating a controversial topic, it is often desirable to expand the boundaries of discussion. For example, we may consider the pros and cons of possible alternatives to the debate topic, make generalizations, or give specific examples. We introduce the task of Debate Topic Expansion - finding such related topics for a given debate topic, along with a novel annotated dataset for the task. We focus on relations between Wikipedia concepts, and show that they differ from well-studied lexical-semantic relations such as hypernyms, hyponyms and antonyms. We present algorithms for finding both consistent and contrastive expansions and demonstrate their effectiveness empirically. We suggest that debate topic expansion may have various use cases in argumentation mining.

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A Dataset of General-Purpose Rebuttal
Matan Orbach | Yonatan Bilu | Ariel Gera | Yoav Kantor | Lena Dankin | Tamar Lavee | Lili Kotlerman | Shachar Mirkin | Michal Jacovi | Ranit Aharonov | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

In Natural Language Understanding, the task of response generation is usually focused on responses to short texts, such as tweets or a turn in a dialog. Here we present a novel task of producing a critical response to a long argumentative text, and suggest a method based on general rebuttal arguments to address it. We do this in the context of the recently-suggested task of listening comprehension over argumentative content: given a speech on some specified topic, and a list of relevant arguments, the goal is to determine which of the arguments appear in the speech. The general rebuttals we describe here (in English) overcome the need for topic-specific arguments to be provided, by proving to be applicable for a large set of topics. This allows creating responses beyond the scope of topics for which specific arguments are available. All data collected during this work is freely available for research.

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Automatic Argument Quality Assessment - New Datasets and Methods
Assaf Toledo | Shai Gretz | Edo Cohen-Karlik | Roni Friedman | Elad Venezian | Dan Lahav | Michal Jacovi | Ranit Aharonov | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

We explore the task of automatic assessment of argument quality. To that end, we actively collected 6.3k arguments, more than a factor of five compared to previously examined data. Each argument was explicitly and carefully annotated for its quality. In addition, 14k pairs of arguments were annotated independently, identifying the higher quality argument in each pair. In spite of the inherent subjective nature of the task, both annotation schemes led to surprisingly consistent results. We release the labeled datasets to the community. Furthermore, we suggest neural methods based on a recently released language model, for argument ranking as well as for argument-pair classification. In the former task, our results are comparable to state-of-the-art; in the latter task our results significantly outperform earlier methods.

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Crowd-sourcing annotation of complex NLU tasks: A case study of argumentative content annotation
Tamar Lavee | Lili Kotlerman | Matan Orbach | Yonatan Bilu | Michal Jacovi | Ranit Aharonov | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Aggregating and Analysing Crowdsourced Annotations for NLP

Recent advancements in machine reading and listening comprehension involve the annotation of long texts. Such tasks are typically time consuming, making crowd-annotations an attractive solution, yet their complexity often makes such a solution unfeasible. In particular, a major concern is that crowd annotators may be tempted to skim through long texts, and answer questions without reading thoroughly. We present a case study of adapting this type of task to the crowd. The task is to identify claims in a several minute long debate speech. We show that sentence-by-sentence annotation does not scale and that labeling only a subset of sentences is insufficient. Instead, we propose a scheme for effectively performing the full, complex task with crowd annotators, allowing the collection of large scale annotated datasets. We believe that the encountered challenges and pitfalls, as well as lessons learned, are relevant in general when collecting data for large scale natural language understanding (NLU) tasks.

2018

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Listening Comprehension over Argumentative Content
Shachar Mirkin | Guy Moshkowich | Matan Orbach | Lili Kotlerman | Yoav Kantor | Tamar Lavee | Michal Jacovi | Yonatan Bilu | Ranit Aharonov | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

This paper presents a task for machine listening comprehension in the argumentation domain and a corresponding dataset in English. We recorded 200 spontaneous speeches arguing for or against 50 controversial topics. For each speech, we formulated a question, aimed at confirming or rejecting the occurrence of potential arguments in the speech. Labels were collected by listening to the speech and marking which arguments were mentioned by the speaker. We applied baseline methods addressing the task, to be used as a benchmark for future work over this dataset. All data used in this work is freely available for research.

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Learning Concept Abstractness Using Weak Supervision
Ella Rabinovich | Benjamin Sznajder | Artem Spector | Ilya Shnayderman | Ranit Aharonov | David Konopnicki | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We introduce a weakly supervised approach for inferring the property of abstractness of words and expressions in the complete absence of labeled data. Exploiting only minimal linguistic clues and the contextual usage of a concept as manifested in textual data, we train sufficiently powerful classifiers, obtaining high correlation with human labels. The results imply the applicability of this approach to additional properties of concepts, additional languages, and resource-scarce scenarios.

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Learning Thematic Similarity Metric from Article Sections Using Triplet Networks
Liat Ein Dor | Yosi Mass | Alon Halfon | Elad Venezian | Ilya Shnayderman | Ranit Aharonov | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

In this paper we suggest to leverage the partition of articles into sections, in order to learn thematic similarity metric between sentences. We assume that a sentence is thematically closer to sentences within its section than to sentences from other sections. Based on this assumption, we use Wikipedia articles to automatically create a large dataset of weakly labeled sentence triplets, composed of a pivot sentence, one sentence from the same section and one from another section. We train a triplet network to embed sentences from the same section closer. To test the performance of the learned embeddings, we create and release a sentence clustering benchmark. We show that the triplet network learns useful thematic metrics, that significantly outperform state-of-the-art semantic similarity methods and multipurpose embeddings on the task of thematic clustering of sentences. We also show that the learned embeddings perform well on the task of sentence semantic similarity prediction.

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Will it Blend? Blending Weak and Strong Labeled Data in a Neural Network for Argumentation Mining
Eyal Shnarch | Carlos Alzate | Lena Dankin | Martin Gleize | Yufang Hou | Leshem Choshen | Ranit Aharonov | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

The process of obtaining high quality labeled data for natural language understanding tasks is often slow, error-prone, complicated and expensive. With the vast usage of neural networks, this issue becomes more notorious since these networks require a large amount of labeled data to produce satisfactory results. We propose a methodology to blend high quality but scarce strong labeled data with noisy but abundant weak labeled data during the training of neural networks. Experiments in the context of topic-dependent evidence detection with two forms of weak labeled data show the advantages of the blending scheme. In addition, we provide a manually annotated data set for the task of topic-dependent evidence detection. We believe that blending weak and strong labeled data is a general notion that may be applicable to many language understanding tasks, and can especially assist researchers who wish to train a network but have a small amount of high quality labeled data for their task of interest.

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Towards an argumentative content search engine using weak supervision
Ran Levy | Ben Bogin | Shai Gretz | Ranit Aharonov | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Searching for sentences containing claims in a large text corpus is a key component in developing an argumentative content search engine. Previous works focused on detecting claims in a small set of documents or within documents enriched with argumentative content. However, pinpointing relevant claims in massive unstructured corpora, received little attention. A step in this direction was taken in (Levy et al. 2017), where the authors suggested using a weak signal to develop a relatively strict query for claim–sentence detection. Here, we leverage this work to define weak signals for training DNNs to obtain significantly greater performance. This approach allows to relax the query and increase the potential coverage. Our results clearly indicate that the system is able to successfully generalize from the weak signal, outperforming previously reported results in terms of both precision and coverage. Finally, we adapt our system to solve a recent argument mining task of identifying argumentative sentences in Web texts retrieved from heterogeneous sources, and obtain F1 scores comparable to the supervised baseline.

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Learning Sentiment Composition from Sentiment Lexicons
Orith Toledo-Ronen | Roy Bar-Haim | Alon Halfon | Charles Jochim | Amir Menczel | Ranit Aharonov | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Sentiment composition is a fundamental sentiment analysis problem. Previous work relied on manual rules and manually-created lexical resources such as negator lists, or learned a composition function from sentiment-annotated phrases or sentences. We propose a new approach for learning sentiment composition from a large, unlabeled corpus, which only requires a word-level sentiment lexicon for supervision. We automatically generate large sentiment lexicons of bigrams and unigrams, from which we induce a set of lexicons for a variety of sentiment composition processes. The effectiveness of our approach is confirmed through manual annotation, as well as sentiment classification experiments with both phrase-level and sentence-level benchmarks.

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Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Argument Mining
Noam Slonim | Ranit Aharonov
Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Argument Mining

2017

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Unsupervised corpus–wide claim detection
Ran Levy | Shai Gretz | Benjamin Sznajder | Shay Hummel | Ranit Aharonov | Noam Slonim
Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Argument Mining

Automatic claim detection is a fundamental argument mining task that aims to automatically mine claims regarding a topic of consideration. Previous works on mining argumentative content have assumed that a set of relevant documents is given in advance. Here, we present a first corpus– wide claim detection framework, that can be directly applied to massive corpora. Using simple and intuitive empirical observations, we derive a claim sentence query by which we are able to directly retrieve sentences in which the prior probability to include topic-relevant claims is greatly enhanced. Next, we employ simple heuristics to rank the sentences, leading to an unsupervised corpus–wide claim detection system, with precision that outperforms previously reported results on the task of claim detection given relevant documents and labeled data.