Skyler Hallinan


2023

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Detoxifying Text with MaRCo: Controllable Revision with Experts and Anti-Experts
Skyler Hallinan | Alisa Liu | Yejin Choi | Maarten Sap
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Text detoxification has the potential to mitigate the harms of toxicity by rephrasing text to remove offensive meaning, but subtle toxicity remains challenging to tackle. We introduce MaRCo, a detoxification algorithm that combines controllable generation and text rewriting methods using a Product of Experts with autoencoder language models (LMs). MaRCo uses likelihoods under a non-toxic LM (expert) and a toxic LM (anti-expert) to find candidate words to mask and potentially replace. We evaluate our method on several subtle toxicity and microaggressions datasets, and show that it not only outperforms baselines on automatic metrics, but MaRCo’s rewrites are preferred 2.1 times more in human evaluation. Its applicability to instances of subtle toxicity is especially promising, demonstrating a path forward for addressing increasingly elusive online hate.

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STEER: Unified Style Transfer with Expert Reinforcement
Skyler Hallinan | Faeze Brahman | Ximing Lu | Jaehun Jung | Sean Welleck | Yejin Choi
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

While text style transfer has many applications across natural language processing, the core premise of transferring from a single source style is unrealistic in a real-world setting. In this work, we focus on arbitrary style transfer: rewriting a text from an arbitrary, unknown style to a target style. We propose STEER: Unified Style Transfer with Expert Reinforcement, a unified frame-work developed to overcome the challenge of limited parallel data for style transfer. STEER involves automatically generating a corpus of style-transfer pairs using a product of experts during decoding. The generated offline data is then used to pre-train an initial policy before switching to online, off-policy reinforcement learning for further improvements via fine-grained reward signals. STEER is unified and can transfer to multiple target styles from an arbitrary, unknown source style, making it particularly flexible and efficient. Experimental results on a challenging dataset with text from a diverse set of styles demonstrate state-of-the-art results compared to competitive baselines. Remarkably, STEER outperforms the 175B parameter instruction-tuned GPT-3 on overall style transfer quality, despite being 226 times smaller in size. We also show STEER is robust, maintaining its style transfer capabilities on out-of-domain data, and surpassing nearly all baselines across various styles. The success of our method highlights the potential of RL algorithms when augmented with controllable decoding to overcome the challenge of limited data supervision.

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Inference-Time Policy Adapters (IPA): Tailoring Extreme-Scale LMs without Fine-tuning
Ximing Lu | Faeze Brahman | Peter West | Jaehun Jung | Khyathi Chandu | Abhilasha Ravichander | Prithviraj Ammanabrolu | Liwei Jiang | Sahana Ramnath | Nouha Dziri | Jillian Fisher | Bill Lin | Skyler Hallinan | Lianhui Qin | Xiang Ren | Sean Welleck | Yejin Choi
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

While extreme-scale language models have demonstrated exceptional performance on a variety of language tasks, the degree of control over these language models through pure prompting can often be limited. Directly fine-tuning such language models can be effective for tailoring them, but it can be either extremely costly (e.g., GPT-3) or not even feasible for the broader community (e.g., GPT-4). We propose Inference-time Policy Adapters (IPA), which efficiently tailors a language model such as GPT-3 without fine-tuning it. IPA guides a large base model during decoding time through a lightweight policy adapter trained to optimize an arbitrary user objective with reinforcement learning. On five challenging text generation tasks, such as toxicity reduction and lexically constrained generation, IPA consistently brings significant improvements over off-the-shelf language models. It outperforms competitive baseline methods, sometimes even including expensive fine-tuning. In particular, tailoring GPT-2 with IPA can outperform GPT-3, while tailoring GPT-3 with IPA brings a major performance boost over GPT-3 (and sometimes even over GPT-4). Our promising results highlight the potential of IPA as a lightweight alternative to tailoring extreme-scale language models.

2022

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Misinfo Reaction Frames: Reasoning about Readers’ Reactions to News Headlines
Saadia Gabriel | Skyler Hallinan | Maarten Sap | Pemi Nguyen | Franziska Roesner | Eunsol Choi | Yejin Choi
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Even to a simple and short news headline, readers react in a multitude of ways: cognitively (e.g. inferring the writer’s intent), emotionally (e.g. feeling distrust), and behaviorally (e.g. sharing the news with their friends). Such reactions are instantaneous and yet complex, as they rely on factors that go beyond interpreting factual content of news. We propose Misinfo Reaction Frames (MRF), a pragmatic formalism for modeling how readers might react to a news headline. In contrast to categorical schema, our free-text dimensions provide a more nuanced way of understanding intent beyond being benign or malicious. We also introduce a Misinfo Reaction Frames corpus, a crowdsourced dataset of reactions to over 25k news headlines focusing on global crises: the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and cancer. Empirical results confirm that it is indeed possible for neural models to predict the prominent patterns of readers’ reactions to previously unseen news headlines. Additionally, our user study shows that displaying machine-generated MRF implications alongside news headlines to readers can increase their trust in real news while decreasing their trust in misinformation. Our work demonstrates the feasibility and importance of pragmatic inferences on news headlines to help enhance AI-guided misinformation detection and mitigation.

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Rainier: Reinforced Knowledge Introspector for Commonsense Question Answering
Jiacheng Liu | Skyler Hallinan | Ximing Lu | Pengfei He | Sean Welleck | Hannaneh Hajishirzi | Yejin Choi
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Knowledge underpins reasoning. Recent research demonstrates that when relevant knowledge is provided as additional context to commonsense question answering (QA), it can substantially enhance the performance even on top of state-of-the-art. The fundamental challenge is where and how to find such knowledge that is high quality and on point with respect to the question; knowledge retrieved from knowledge bases are incomplete and knowledge generated from language models are inconsistent. We present Rainier, or Reinforced Knowledge Introspector, that learns to generate contextually relevant knowledge in response to given questions. Our approach starts by imitating knowledge generated by GPT-3, then learns to generate its own knowledge via reinforcement learning where rewards are shaped based on the increased performance on the resulting question answering. Rainier demonstrates substantial and consistent performance gains when tested over 9 different commonsense benchmarks: including 5 datasets that are seen during model training, as well as 4 datasets that are kept unseen. Our work is the first to report that knowledge generated by models that are orders of magnitude smaller than GPT-3, even without direct supervision on the knowledge itself, can exceed the quality of commonsense knowledge elicited from GPT-3.