Saghar Hosseini


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An Empirical Study of Metrics to Measure Representational Harms in Pre-Trained Language Models
Saghar Hosseini | Hamid Palangi | Ahmed Hassan Awadallah
Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Trustworthy Natural Language Processing (TrustNLP 2023)

Large-scale Pre-Trained Language Models (PTLMs) capture knowledge from massive human-written data which contains latent societal biases and toxic contents. In this paper, we leverage the primary task of PTLMs, i.e., language modeling, and propose a new metric to quantify manifested implicit representational harms in PTLMs towards 13 marginalized demographics. Using this metric, we conducted an empirical analysis of 24 widely used PTLMs. Our analysis provides insights into the correlation between the proposed metric in this work and other related metrics for representational harm. We observe that our metric correlates with most of the gender-specific metrics in the literature. Through extensive experiments, we explore the connections between PTLMs architectures and representational harms across two dimensions: depth and width of the networks. We found that prioritizing depth over width, mitigates representational harms in some PTLMs. Our code and data can be found at [place holder].

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ROBBIE: Robust Bias Evaluation of Large Generative Language Models
David Esiobu | Xiaoqing Tan | Saghar Hosseini | Megan Ung | Yuchen Zhang | Jude Fernandes | Jane Dwivedi-Yu | Eleonora Presani | Adina Williams | Eric Smith
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

As generative large language models (LLMs) grow more performant and prevalent, we must develop comprehensive enough tools to measure and improve their fairness. Different prompt-based datasets can be used to measure social bias across multiple text domains and demographic axes, meaning that testing LLMs on more datasets can potentially help us characterize their biases more fully, and better ensure equal and equitable treatment of marginalized demographic groups. In this work, our focus is two-fold: (1) Benchmarking: a comparison of 6 different prompt-based bias and toxicity metrics across 12 demographic axes and 5 families of generative LLMs. Out of those 6 metrics, AdvPromptSet and HolisticBiasR are novel datasets proposed in the paper. The comparison of those benchmarks gives us insights about the bias and toxicity of the compared models. Therefore, we explore the frequency of demographic terms in common LLM pre-training corpora and how this may relate to model biases. (2) Mitigation: we conduct a comprehensive study of how well 3 bias/toxicity mitigation techniques perform across our suite of measurements. ROBBIE aims to provide insights for practitioners while deploying a model, emphasizing the need to not only measure potential harms, but also understand how they arise by characterizing the data, mitigate harms once found, and balance any trade-offs. We open-source our analysis code in hopes of encouraging broader measurements of bias in future LLMs.


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Say ‘YES’ to Positivity: Detecting Toxic Language in Workplace Communications
Meghana Moorthy Bhat | Saghar Hosseini | Ahmed Hassan Awadallah | Paul Bennett | Weisheng Li
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Workplace communication (e.g. email, chat, etc.) is a central part of enterprise productivity. Healthy conversations are crucial for creating an inclusive environment and maintaining harmony in an organization. Toxic communications at the workplace can negatively impact overall job satisfaction and are often subtle, hidden, or demonstrate human biases. The linguistic subtlety of mild yet hurtful conversations has made it difficult for researchers to quantify and extract toxic conversations automatically. While offensive language or hate speech has been extensively studied in social communities, there has been little work studying toxic communication in emails. Specifically, the lack of corpus, sparsity of toxicity in enterprise emails, and well-defined criteria for annotating toxic conversations have prevented researchers from addressing the problem at scale. We take the first step towards studying toxicity in workplace emails by providing (1) a general and computationally viable taxonomy to study toxic language at the workplace (2) a dataset to study toxic language at the workplace based on the taxonomy and (3) analysis on why offensive language and hate-speech datasets are not suitable to detect workplace toxicity.


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Speak to your Parser: Interactive Text-to-SQL with Natural Language Feedback
Ahmed Elgohary | Saghar Hosseini | Ahmed Hassan Awadallah
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We study the task of semantic parse correction with natural language feedback. Given a natural language utterance, most semantic parsing systems pose the problem as one-shot translation where the utterance is mapped to a corresponding logical form. In this paper, we investigate a more interactive scenario where humans can further interact with the system by providing free-form natural language feedback to correct the system when it generates an inaccurate interpretation of an initial utterance. We focus on natural language to SQL systems and construct, SPLASH, a dataset of utterances, incorrect SQL interpretations and the corresponding natural language feedback. We compare various reference models for the correction task and show that incorporating such a rich form of feedback can significantly improve the overall semantic parsing accuracy while retaining the flexibility of natural language interaction. While we estimated human correction accuracy is 81.5%, our best model achieves only 25.1%, which leaves a large gap for improvement in future research. SPLASH is publicly available at

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Gender Bias in Multilingual Embeddings and Cross-Lingual Transfer
Jieyu Zhao | Subhabrata Mukherjee | Saghar Hosseini | Kai-Wei Chang | Ahmed Hassan Awadallah
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Multilingual representations embed words from many languages into a single semantic space such that words with similar meanings are close to each other regardless of the language. These embeddings have been widely used in various settings, such as cross-lingual transfer, where a natural language processing (NLP) model trained on one language is deployed to another language. While the cross-lingual transfer techniques are powerful, they carry gender bias from the source to target languages. In this paper, we study gender bias in multilingual embeddings and how it affects transfer learning for NLP applications. We create a multilingual dataset for bias analysis and propose several ways for quantifying bias in multilingual representations from both the intrinsic and extrinsic perspectives. Experimental results show that the magnitude of bias in the multilingual representations changes differently when we align the embeddings to different target spaces and that the alignment direction can also have an influence on the bias in transfer learning. We further provide recommendations for using the multilingual word representations for downstream tasks.