Conversational AI – Research Papers

By | January 7, 2020

I hope to keep this page up to date with the latest published papers that I found interesting on the topic of conversational AI.

Last updated: January 7th 2020.

Dec 2019

Benchmarking Zero-shot Text Classification: Datasets, Evaluation and Entailment Approach

Zero-shot text classification (0Shot-TC) is a challenging NLU problem to which little attention has been paid by the research community. 0Shot-TC aims to associate an appropriate label with a piece of text, irrespective of the text domain and the aspect (e.g., topic, emotion, event, etc.) described by the label. And there are only a few articles studying 0Shot-TC, all focusing only on topical categorization which, we argue, is just the tip of the iceberg in 0Shot-TC. In addition, the chaotic experiments in literature make no uniform comparison, which blurs the progress.

Cross-Lingual Ability of Multilingual BERT: An Empirical Study

Recent work has exhibited the surprising cross-lingual abilities of multilingual BERT (M-BERT) — surprising since it is trained without any cross-lingual objective and with no aligned data. In this work, we provide a comprehensive study of the contribution of different components in M-BERT to its cross-lingual ability. We study the impact of linguistic properties of the languages, the architecture of the model, and the learning objectives. The experimental study is done in the context of three typologically different languages — Spanish, Hindi, and Russian — and using two conceptually different NLP tasks, textual entailment and named entity recognition. Among our key conclusions is the fact that the lexical overlap between languages plays a negligible role in the cross-lingual success, while the depth of the network is an integral part of it.

Libri-Light: A Benchmark for ASR with Limited or No Supervision

We introduce a new collection of spoken English audio suitable for training speech recognition systems under limited or no supervision. It is derived from open-source audio books from the LibriVox project. It contains over 60K hours of audio, which is, to our knowledge, the largest freely-available corpus of speech. The audio has been segmented using voice activity detection and is tagged with SNR, speaker ID and genre descriptions. Additionally, we provide baseline systems and evaluation metrics working under three settings: (1) the zero resource/unsupervised setting (ABX), (2) the semi-supervised setting (PER, CER) and (3) the distant supervision setting (WER). Settings (2) and (3) use limited textual resources (10 minutes to 10 hours) aligned with the speech. Setting (3) uses large amounts of unaligned text. They are evaluated on the standard LibriSpeech dev and test sets for comparison with the supervised state-of-the-art.

Extending Machine Language Models toward Human-Level Language Understanding

Language is central to human intelligence. We review recent breakthroughs in machine language processing and consider what remains to be achieved. Recent approaches rely on domain general principles of learning and representation captured in artificial neural networks. Most current models, however, focus too closely on language itself. In humans, language is part of a larger system for acquiring, representing, and communicating about objects and situations in the physical and social world, and future machine language models should emulate such a system. We describe existing machine models linking language to concrete situations, and point toward extensions to address more abstract cases. Human language processing exploits complementary learning systems, including a deep neural network-like learning system that learns gradually as machine systems do, as well as a fast-learning system that supports learning new information quickly. Adding such a system to machine language models will be an important further step toward truly human-like language understanding.

How to Evaluate the Next System: Automatic Dialogue Evaluation from
the Perspective of Continual Learning

Automatic dialogue evaluation plays a crucial role in open-domain dialogue research. Previous works train neural networks with limited annotation for conducting automatic dialogue evaluation, which would naturally affect the evaluation fairness as dialogue systems close to the scope of training corpus would have more preference than the other ones. In this paper, we study alleviating this problem from the perspective of continual learning: given an existing neural dialogue evaluator and the next system to be evaluated, we fine-tune the learned neural evaluator by selectively forgetting/updating its parameters, to jointly fit dialogue systems have been and will be evaluated. Our motivation is to seek for a lifelong and low-cost automatic evaluation for dialogue systems, rather than to reconstruct the evaluator over and over again. Experimental results show that our continual evaluator achieves comparable performance with reconstructing new evaluators, while requires significantly lower resources.

Nov 2019

Learning to Retrieve Reasoning Paths over Wikipedia Graph for Question Answering

Answering questions that require multi-hop reasoning at web-scale necessitates retrieving multiple evidence documents, one of which often has little lexical or semantic relationship to the question. This paper introduces a new graph-based recurrent retrieval approach that learns to retrieve reasoning paths over the Wikipedia graph to answer multi-hop open-domain questions. Our retriever model trains a recurrent neural network that learns to sequentially retrieve evidence paragraphs in the reasoning path by conditioning on the previously retrieved documents. Our reader model ranks the reasoning paths and extracts the answer span included in the best reasoning path. Experimental results show state-of-the-art results in three open-domain QA datasets, showcasing the effectiveness and robustness of our method. Notably, our method achieves significant improvement in HotpotQA, outperforming the previous best model by more than 14 points.

Earlier research papers

Better Automatic Evaluation of Open-Domain Dialogue Systems with Contextualized Embeddings

Despite advances in open-domain dialogue systems, automatic evaluation of such systems is still a challenging problem. Traditional reference-based metrics such as BLEU are ineffective because there could be many valid responses for a given context that share no common words with reference responses. A recent work proposed Referenced metric and Unreferenced metric Blended Evaluation Routine (RUBER) to combine a learning-based metric, which predicts relatedness between a generated response and a given query, with reference-based metric; it showed high correlation with human judgments. In this paper, we explore using contextualized word embeddings to compute more accurate relatedness scores, thus better evaluation metrics. Experiments show that our evaluation metrics outperform RUBER, which is trained on static embeddings.

RUBER: An Unsupervised Method for Automatic Evaluation of Open-Domain Dialog Systems

Open-domain human-computer conversation has been attracting increasing attention over the past few years. However, there does not exist a standard automatic evaluation metric for open-domain dialog systems; researchers usually resort to human annotation for model evaluation, which is time- and labor-intensive. In this paper, we propose RUBER, a Referenced metric and Unreferenced metric Blended Evaluation Routine, which evaluates a reply by taking into consideration both a groundtruth reply and a query (previous user-issued utterance). Our metric is learnable, but its training does not require labels of human satisfaction. Hence, RUBER is flexible and extensible to different datasets and languages. Experiments on both retrieval and generative dialog systems show that RUBER has a high correlation with human annotation.

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