Zhilin Wang


pdf bib
Humanoid Agents: Platform for Simulating Human-like Generative Agents
Zhilin Wang | Yu Ying Chiu | Yu Cheung Chiu
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

Just as computational simulations of atoms, molecules and cells have shaped the way we study the sciences, true-to-life simulations of human-like agents can be valuable tools for studying human behavior. We propose Humanoid Agents, a system that guides Generative Agents to behave more like humans by introducing three elements of System 1 processing: Basic needs (e.g. hunger, health and energy), Emotion and Closeness in Relationships. Humanoid Agents are able to use these dynamic elements to adapt their daily activities and conversations with other agents, as supported with empirical experiments. Our system is designed to be extensible to various settings, three of which we demonstrate, as well as to other elements influencing human behavior (e.g. empathy, moral values and cultural background). Our platform also includes a Unity WebGL game interface for visualization and an interactive analytics dashboard to show agent statuses over time. Our platform is available on https://www.humanoidagents.com/ and code is on https://github.com/HumanoidAgents/HumanoidAgents

pdf bib
Just Like a Human Would, Direct Access to Sarcasm Augmented with Potential Result and Reaction
Changrong Min | Ximing Li | Liang Yang | Zhilin Wang | Bo Xu | Hongfei Lin
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Sarcasm, as a form of irony conveying mockery and contempt, has been widespread in social media such as Twitter and Weibo, where the sarcastic text is commonly characterized as an incongruity between the surface positive and negative situation. Naturally, it has an urgent demand to automatically identify sarcasm from social media, so as to illustrate people’s real views toward specific targets. In this paper, we develop a novel sarcasm detection method, namely Sarcasm Detector with Augmentation of Potential Result and Reaction (SD-APRR). Inspired by the direct access view, we treat each sarcastic text as an incomplete version without latent content associated with implied negative situations, including the result and human reaction caused by its observable content. To fill the latent content, we estimate the potential result and human reaction for each given training sample by [xEffect] and [xReact] relations inferred by the pre-trained commonsense reasoning tool COMET, and integrate the sample with them as an augmented one. We can then employ those augmented samples to train the sarcasm detector, whose encoder is a graph neural network with a denoising module. We conduct extensive empirical experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of SD-APRR. The results demonstrate that SD-APRR can outperform strong baselines on benchmark datasets.

pdf bib
FVQA 2.0: Introducing Adversarial Samples into Fact-based Visual Question Answering
Weizhe Lin | Zhilin Wang | Bill Byrne
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EACL 2023

The widely used Fact-based Visual Question Answering (FVQA) dataset contains visually-grounded questions that require information retrieval using common sense knowledge graphs to answer. It has been observed that the original dataset is highly imbalanced and concentrated on a small portion of its associated knowledge graph. We introduce FVQA 2.0 which contains adversarial variants of test questions to address this imbalance. We show that systems trained with the original FVQA train sets can be vulnerable to adversarial samples and we demonstrate an augmentation scheme to reduce this vulnerability without human annotations.

pdf bib
SteerLM: Attribute Conditioned SFT as an (User-Steerable) Alternative to RLHF
Yi Dong | Zhilin Wang | Makesh Sreedhar | Xianchao Wu | Oleksii Kuchaiev
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Model alignment with human preferences is an essential step in making Large Language Models (LLMs) helpful and consistent with human values. It typically consists of supervised fine-tuning (SFT) and reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF) stages. However, RLHF faces inherent limitations stemming from a complex training setup and its tendency to align the model with implicit values that end users cannot control at run-time. Moreover, reward models in RLHF stage commonly rely on single-dimensional feedback as opposed to explicit, multifaceted signals that indicate attributes such as helpfulness, humor, and toxicity. To address these limitations, we propose SteerLM, a supervised fine-tuning method that empowers end-users to control responses during inference. SteerLM conditions responses to conform to an explicitly defined multi-dimensional set of attributes, thereby empowering a steerable AI capable of generating helpful and high-quality responses while maintaining customizability. Experiments show that SteerLM trained on open source datasets generates responses that are preferred by human and automatic evaluators to many state-of-the-art baselines trained with RLHF while being much easier to train. Try SteerLM at https://huggingface.co/nvidia/SteerLM-llama2-13B


pdf bib
Extracting and Inferring Personal Attributes from Dialogue
Zhilin Wang | Xuhui Zhou | Rik Koncel-Kedziorski | Alex Marin | Fei Xia
Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on NLP for Conversational AI

Personal attributes represent structured information about a person, such as their hobbies, pets, family, likes and dislikes. We introduce the tasks of extracting and inferring personal attributes from human-human dialogue, and analyze the linguistic demands of these tasks. To meet these challenges, we introduce a simple and extensible model that combines an autoregressive language model utilizing constrained attribute generation with a discriminative reranker. Our model outperforms strong baselines on extracting personal attributes as well as inferring personal attributes that are not contained verbatim in utterances and instead requires commonsense reasoning and lexical inferences, which occur frequently in everyday conversation. Finally, we demonstrate the benefit of incorporating personal attributes in social chit-chat and task-oriented dialogue settings.

pdf bib
Uncovering Surprising Event Boundaries in Narratives
Zhilin Wang | Anna Jafarpour | Maarten Sap
Proceedings of the 4th Workshop of Narrative Understanding (WNU2022)

When reading stories, people can naturally identify sentences in which a new event starts, i.e., event boundaries, using their knowledge of how events typically unfold, but a computational model to detect event boundaries is not yet available. We characterize and detect sentences with expected or surprising event boundaries in an annotated corpus of short diary-like stories, using a model that combines commonsense knowledge and narrative flow features with a RoBERTa classifier. Our results show that, while commonsense and narrative features can help improve performance overall, detecting event boundaries that are more subjective remains challenging for our model. We also find that sentences marking surprising event boundaries are less likely to be causally related to the preceding sentence, but are more likely to express emotional reactions of story characters, compared to sentences with no event boundary.

pdf bib
How to be Helpful on Online Support Forums?
Zhilin Wang | Pablo E. Torres
Proceedings of the 4th Workshop of Narrative Understanding (WNU2022)

Internet forums such as Reddit offer people a platform to ask for advice when they encounter various issues at work, school or in relationships. Telling helpful comments apart from unhelpful comments to these advice-seeking posts can help people and dialogue agents to become more helpful in offering advice. We propose a dataset that contains both helpful and unhelpful comments in response to such requests. We then relate helpfulness to the closely related construct of empathy. Finally, we analyze the language features that are associated with helpful and unhelpful comments.


pdf bib
Learning Similarity between Movie Characters and Its Potential Implications on Understanding Human Experiences
Zhilin Wang | Weizhe Lin | Xiaodong Wu
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Narrative Understanding

While many different aspects of human experiences have been studied by the NLP community, none has captured its full richness. We propose a new task to capture this richness based on an unlikely setting: movie characters. We sought to capture theme-level similarities between movie characters that were community-curated into 20,000 themes. By introducing a two-step approach that balances performance and efficiency, we managed to achieve 9-27% improvement over recent paragraph-embedding based methods. Finally, we demonstrate how the thematic information learnt from movie characters can potentially be used to understand themes in the experience of people, as indicated on Reddit posts.


pdf bib
No, you’re not alone: A better way to find people with similar experiences on Reddit
Zhilin Wang | Elena Rastorgueva | Weizhe Lin | Xiaodong Wu
Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text (W-NUT 2019)

We present a probabilistic clustering algorithm that can help Reddit users to find posts that discuss experiences similar to their own. This model is built upon the BERT Next Sentence Prediction model and reduces the time complexity for clustering all posts in a corpus from O(nˆ2) to O(n) with respect to the number of posts. We demonstrate that such probabilistic clustering can yield a performance better than baseline clustering methods based on Latent Dirichlet Allocation (Blei et al., 2003) and Word2Vec (Mikolov et al., 2013). Furthermore, there is a high degree of coherence between our probabilistic clustering and the exhaustive comparison O(nˆ2) algorithm in which the similarity between every pair of posts is found. This makes the use of the BERT Next Sentence Prediction model more practical for unsupervised clustering tasks due to the high runtime overhead of each BERT computation.