Xuewei Wang


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How to Build User Simulators to Train RL-based Dialog Systems
Weiyan Shi | Kun Qian | Xuewei Wang | Zhou Yu
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

User simulators are essential for training reinforcement learning (RL) based dialog models. The performance of the simulator directly impacts the RL policy. However, building a good user simulator that models real user behaviors is challenging. We propose a method of standardizing user simulator building that can be used by the community to compare dialog system quality using the same set of user simulators fairly. We present implementations of six user simulators trained with different dialog planning and generation methods. We then calculate a set of automatic metrics to evaluate the quality of these simulators both directly and indirectly. We also ask human users to assess the simulators directly and indirectly by rating the simulated dialogs and interacting with the trained systems. This paper presents a comprehensive evaluation framework for user simulator study and provides a better understanding of the pros and cons of different user simulators, as well as their impacts on the trained systems.

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Persuasion for Good: Towards a Personalized Persuasive Dialogue System for Social Good
Xuewei Wang | Weiyan Shi | Richard Kim | Yoojung Oh | Sijia Yang | Jingwen Zhang | Zhou Yu
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Developing intelligent persuasive conversational agents to change people’s opinions and actions for social good is the frontier in advancing the ethical development of automated dialogue systems. To do so, the first step is to understand the intricate organization of strategic disclosures and appeals employed in human persuasion conversations. We designed an online persuasion task where one participant was asked to persuade the other to donate to a specific charity. We collected a large dataset with 1,017 dialogues and annotated emerging persuasion strategies from a subset. Based on the annotation, we built a baseline classifier with context information and sentence-level features to predict the 10 persuasion strategies used in the corpus. Furthermore, to develop an understanding of personalized persuasion processes, we analyzed the relationships between individuals’ demographic and psychological backgrounds including personality, morality, value systems, and their willingness for donation. Then, we analyzed which types of persuasion strategies led to a greater amount of donation depending on the individuals’ personal backgrounds. This work lays the ground for developing a personalized persuasive dialogue system.