Tal Schuster


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Consistent Accelerated Inference via Confident Adaptive Transformers
Tal Schuster | Adam Fisch | Tommi Jaakkola | Regina Barzilay
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We develop a novel approach for confidently accelerating inference in the large and expensive multilayer Transformers that are now ubiquitous in natural language processing (NLP). Amortized or approximate computational methods increase efficiency, but can come with unpredictable performance costs. In this work, we present CATs – Confident Adaptive Transformers – in which we simultaneously increase computational efficiency, while guaranteeing a specifiable degree of consistency with the original model with high confidence. Our method trains additional prediction heads on top of intermediate layers, and dynamically decides when to stop allocating computational effort to each input using a meta consistency classifier. To calibrate our early prediction stopping rule, we formulate a unique extension of conformal prediction. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach on four classification and regression tasks.

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Get Your Vitamin C! Robust Fact Verification with Contrastive Evidence
Tal Schuster | Adam Fisch | Regina Barzilay
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Typical fact verification models use retrieved written evidence to verify claims. Evidence sources, however, often change over time as more information is gathered and revised. In order to adapt, models must be sensitive to subtle differences in supporting evidence. We present VitaminC, a benchmark infused with challenging cases that require fact verification models to discern and adjust to slight factual changes. We collect over 100,000 Wikipedia revisions that modify an underlying fact, and leverage these revisions, together with additional synthetically constructed ones, to create a total of over 400,000 claim-evidence pairs. Unlike previous resources, the examples in VitaminC are contrastive, i.e., they contain evidence pairs that are nearly identical in language and content, with the exception that one supports a given claim while the other does not. We show that training using this design increases robustness—improving accuracy by 10% on adversarial fact verification and 6% on adversarial natural language inference (NLI). Moreover, the structure of VitaminC leads us to define additional tasks for fact-checking resources: tagging relevant words in the evidence for verifying the claim, identifying factual revisions, and providing automatic edits via factually consistent text generation.


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The Limitations of Stylometry for Detecting Machine-Generated Fake News
Tal Schuster | Roei Schuster | Darsh J. Shah | Regina Barzilay
Computational Linguistics, Volume 46, Issue 2 - June 2020

Recent developments in neural language models (LMs) have raised concerns about their potential misuse for automatically spreading misinformation. In light of these concerns, several studies have proposed to detect machine-generated fake news by capturing their stylistic differences from human-written text. These approaches, broadly termed stylometry, have found success in source attribution and misinformation detection in human-written texts. However, in this work, we show that stylometry is limited against machine-generated misinformation. Whereas humans speak differently when trying to deceive, LMs generate stylistically consistent text, regardless of underlying motive. Thus, though stylometry can successfully prevent impersonation by identifying text provenance, it fails to distinguish legitimate LM applications from those that introduce false information. We create two benchmarks demonstrating the stylistic similarity between malicious and legitimate uses of LMs, utilized in auto-completion and editing-assistance settings.1 Our findings highlight the need for non-stylometry approaches in detecting machine-generated misinformation, and open up the discussion on the desired evaluation benchmarks.

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Distilling the Evidence to Augment Fact Verification Models
Beatrice Portelli | Jason Zhao | Tal Schuster | Giuseppe Serra | Enrico Santus
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Fact Extraction and VERification (FEVER)

The alarming spread of fake news in social media, together with the impossibility of scaling manual fact verification, motivated the development of natural language processing techniques to automatically verify the veracity of claims. Most approaches perform a claim-evidence classification without providing any insights about why the claim is trustworthy or not. We propose, instead, a model-agnostic framework that consists of two modules: (1) a span extractor, which identifies the crucial information connecting claim and evidence; and (2) a classifier that combines claim, evidence, and the extracted spans to predict the veracity of the claim. We show that the spans are informative for the classifier, improving performance and robustness. Tested on several state-of-the-art models over the Fever dataset, the enhanced classifiers consistently achieve higher accuracy while also showing reduced sensitivity to artifacts in the claims.


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Towards Debiasing Fact Verification Models
Tal Schuster | Darsh Shah | Yun Jie Serene Yeo | Daniel Roberto Filizzola Ortiz | Enrico Santus | Regina Barzilay
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Fact verification requires validating a claim in the context of evidence. We show, however, that in the popular FEVER dataset this might not necessarily be the case. Claim-only classifiers perform competitively with top evidence-aware models. In this paper, we investigate the cause of this phenomenon, identifying strong cues for predicting labels solely based on the claim, without considering any evidence. We create an evaluation set that avoids those idiosyncrasies. The performance of FEVER-trained models significantly drops when evaluated on this test set. Therefore, we introduce a regularization method which alleviates the effect of bias in the training data, obtaining improvements on the newly created test set. This work is a step towards a more sound evaluation of reasoning capabilities in fact verification models.

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Cross-Lingual Alignment of Contextual Word Embeddings, with Applications to Zero-shot Dependency Parsing
Tal Schuster | Ori Ram | Regina Barzilay | Amir Globerson
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers)

We introduce a novel method for multilingual transfer that utilizes deep contextual embeddings, pretrained in an unsupervised fashion. While contextual embeddings have been shown to yield richer representations of meaning compared to their static counterparts, aligning them poses a challenge due to their dynamic nature. To this end, we construct context-independent variants of the original monolingual spaces and utilize their mapping to derive an alignment for the context-dependent spaces. This mapping readily supports processing of a target language, improving transfer by context-aware embeddings. Our experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach for zero-shot and few-shot learning of dependency parsing. Specifically, our method consistently outperforms the previous state-of-the-art on 6 tested languages, yielding an improvement of 6.8 LAS points on average.