Effective interlocutors account for the uncertain goals, beliefs, and emotions of others. But even the best human conversationalist cannot perfectly anticipate the trajectory of a dialogue. How well can language models represent inherent uncertainty in conversations? We propose FortUne Dial, an expansion of the long-standing "conversation forecasting" task: instead of just accuracy, evaluation is conducted with uncertainty-aware metrics, effectively enabling abstention on individual instances. We study two ways in which language models potentially represent outcome uncertainty (internally, using scores and directly, using tokens) and propose fine-tuning strategies to improve calibration of both representations. Experiments on eight difficult negotiation corpora demonstrate that our proposed fine-tuning strategies (a traditional supervision strategy and an off-policy reinforcement learning strategy) can calibrate smaller open-source models to compete with pre-trained models 10x their size.
The ingrained principles of fairness in a dialogue system's decision-making process and generated responses are crucial for user engagement, satisfaction, and task achievement. Absence of equitable and inclusive principles can hinder the formation of common ground, which in turn negatively impacts the overall performance of the system. For example, misusing pronouns in a user interaction may cause ambiguity about the intended subject. Yet, there is no comprehensive study of equitable text generation in dialogue. Aptly, in this work, we use theories of computational learning to study this problem. We provide formal definitions of equity in text generation, and further, prove formal connections between learning human-likeness and learning equity: algorithms for improving equity ultimately reduce to algorithms for improving human-likeness (on augmented data). With this insight, we also formulate reasonable conditions under which text generation algorithms can learn to generate equitable text without any modifications to the biased training data on which they learn. To exemplify our theory in practice, we look at a group of algorithms for the GuessWhat?! visual dialogue game and, using this example, test our theory empirically. Our theory accurately predicts relative-performance of multiple algorithms in generating equitable text as measured by both human and automated evaluation.
While large pre-trained language models (LMs) find greater use across NLP, existing evaluation protocols do not consider how LM language use aligns with particular human demographic groups, which can be an important consideration in conversational AI applications. To remedy this gap, we consider how LM language skills can be measured and compared to human sub-populations. We suggest clinical techniques from Speech Language Pathology, which has well-established norms for acquisition of language skills, organized by (human) age. We conduct evaluation with a domain expert (i.e., a clinically licensed speech language pathologist), and also propose automated techniques to substitute clinical evaluation at scale. We find LM capability varies widely depending on task with GPT-3.5 mimicking the ability of a typical 6-9 year old at tasks requiring inference about word meanings and simultaneously outperforming a typical 21 year old at memorization. GPT-3.5 (InstructGPT) also has trouble with social language use, exhibiting less than 50\% of the tested pragmatic skills. It shows errors in understanding particular word parts-of-speech and associative word relations, among other lexical features. Ultimately, findings reiterate the importance of considering demographic alignment and conversational goals when using these models as public-facing tools. Our framework will be publicly available via code, data, and a python package.
Algorithms for text-generation in dialogue can be misguided. For example, in task-oriented settings, reinforcement learning that optimizes only task-success can lead to abysmal lexical diversity. We hypothesize this is due to poor theoretical understanding of the objectives in text-generation and their relation to the learning process (i.e., model training). To this end, we propose a new theoretical framework for learning to generate text in dialogue. Compared to existing theories of learning, our framework allows for analysis of the multi-faceted goals inherent to text-generation. We use our framework to develop theoretical guarantees for learners that adapt to unseen data. As an example, we apply our theory to study data-shift within a cooperative learning algorithm proposed for the GuessWhat?! visual dialogue game. From this insight, we propose a new algorithm, and empirically, we demonstrate our proposal improves both task-success and human-likeness of the generated text. Finally, we show statistics from our theory are empirically predictive of multiple qualities of the generated dialogue, suggesting our theory is useful for model-selection when human evaluations are not available.
Investigating cooperativity of interlocutors is central in studying pragmatics of dialogue. Models of conversation that only assume cooperative agents fail to explain the dynamics of strategic conversations. Thus, we investigate the ability of agents to identify non-cooperative interlocutors while completing a concurrent visual-dialogue task. Within this novel setting, we study the optimality of communication strategies for achieving this multi-task objective. We use the tools of learning theory to develop a theoretical model for identifying non-cooperative interlocutors and apply this theory to analyze different communication strategies. We also introduce a corpus of non-cooperative conversations about images in the GuessWhat?! dataset proposed by De Vries et al. (2017). We use reinforcement learning to implement multiple communication strategies in this context and find empirical results validate our theory.
Multiclass neural networks are a common tool in modern unsupervised domain adaptation, yet an appropriate theoretical description for their non-uniform sample complexity is lacking in the adaptation literature. To fill this gap, we propose the first PAC-Bayesian adaptation bounds for multiclass learners. We facilitate practical use of our bounds by also proposing the first approximation techniques for the multiclass distribution divergences we consider. For divergences dependent on a Gibbs predictor, we propose additional PAC-Bayesian adaptation bounds which remove the need for inefficient Monte-Carlo estimation. Empirically, we test the efficacy of our proposed approximation techniques as well as some novel design-concepts which we include in our bounds. Finally, we apply our bounds to analyze a common adaptation algorithm that uses neural networks.
The topic of generalizing machine learning models learned on a collection of source domains to unknown target domains is challenging. While many domain generalization (DG) methods have achieved promising results, they primarily rely on the source domains at train-time without manipulating the target domains at test-time. Thus, it is still possible that those methods can overfit to source domains and perform poorly on target domains. Driven by the observation that domains are strongly related to styles, we argue that reducing the gap between source and target styles can boost models' generalizability. To solve the dilemma of having no access to the target domain during training, we introduce Test-time Fourier Style Calibration (TF-Cal) for calibrating the target domain style on the fly during testing. To access styles, we utilize Fourier transformation to decompose features into amplitude (style) features and phase (semantic) features. Furthermore, we present an effective technique to Augment Amplitude Features (AAF) to complement TF-Cal. Extensive experiments on several popular DG benchmarks and a segmentation dataset for medical images demonstrate that our method outperforms state-of-the-art methods.
* 31st International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence
Discourse analysis allows us to attain inferences of a text document that extend beyond the sentence-level. The current performance of discourse models is very low on texts outside of the training distribution's coverage, diminishing the practical utility of existing models. There is need for a measure that can inform us to what extent our model generalizes from the training to the test sample when these samples may be drawn from distinct distributions. While this can be estimated via distribution shift, we argue that this does not directly correlate with change in the observed error of a classifier (i.e. error-gap). Thus, we propose to use a statistic from the theoretical domain adaptation literature which can be directly tied to error-gap. We study the bias of this statistic as an estimator of error-gap both theoretically and through a large-scale empirical study of over 2400 experiments on 6 discourse datasets from domains including, but not limited to: news, biomedical texts, TED talks, Reddit posts, and fiction. Our results not only motivate our proposal and help us to understand its limitations, but also provide insight on the properties of discourse models and datasets which improve performance in domain adaptation. For instance, we find that non-news datasets are slightly easier to transfer to than news datasets when the training and test sets are very different. Our code and an associated Python package are available to allow practitioners to make more informed model and dataset choices.
Application of deep neural networks to medical imaging tasks has in some sense become commonplace. Still, a "thorn in the side" of the deep learning movement is the argument that deep networks are somehow prone to overfitting and are thus unable to generalize well when datasets are small. The claim is not baseless and likely stems from the observation that PAC bounds on generalization error are usually so large for deep networks that they are vacuous (i.e., logically meaningless). Contrary to this, recent advances using the PAC-Bayesian framework have instead shown non-vacuous bounds on generalization error for large (stochastic) networks and standard datasets (e.g., MNIST and CIFAR-10). We apply these techniques to a much smaller medical imagining dataset (the ISIC 2018 challenge set). Further, we consider generalization of deep networks on segmentation tasks which has not commonly been done using the PAC-Bayesian framework. Importantly, we observe that the resultant bounds are also non-vacuous despite the sharp reduction in sample size. In total, our results demonstrate the applicability of PAC-Bayesian bounds for deep stochastic networks in the medical imaging domain.