In order to build reliable and trustworthy NLP applications, models need to be both fair across different demographics and explainable. Usually these two objectives, fairness and explainability, are optimized and/or examined independently of each other. Instead, we argue that forthcoming, trustworthy NLP systems should consider both. In this work, we perform a first study to understand how they influence each other: do fair(er) models rely on more plausible rationales? and vice versa. To this end, we conduct experiments on two English multi-class text classification datasets, BIOS and ECtHR, that provide information on gender and nationality, respectively, as well as human-annotated rationales. We fine-tune pre-trained language models with several methods for (i) bias mitigation, which aims to improve fairness; (ii) rationale extraction, which aims to produce plausible explanations. We find that bias mitigation algorithms do not always lead to fairer models. Moreover, we discover that empirical fairness and explainability are orthogonal.
Contrastive explanations, where one decision is explained in contrast to another, are supposed to be closer to how humans explain a decision than non-contrastive explanations, where the decision is not necessarily referenced to an alternative. This claim has never been empirically validated. We analyze four English text-classification datasets (SST2, DynaSent, BIOS and DBpedia-Animals). We fine-tune and extract explanations from three different models (RoBERTa, GTP-2, and T5), each in three different sizes and apply three post-hoc explainability methods (LRP, GradientxInput, GradNorm). We furthermore collect and release human rationale annotations for a subset of 100 samples from the BIOS dataset for contrastive and non-contrastive settings. A cross-comparison between model-based rationales and human annotations, both in contrastive and non-contrastive settings, yields a high agreement between the two settings for models as well as for humans. Moreover, model-based explanations computed in both settings align equally well with human rationales. Thus, we empirically find that humans do not necessarily explain in a contrastive manner.9 pages, long paper at ACL 2022 proceedings.
The scientific innovation in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and more broadly in artificial intelligence (AI) is at its fastest pace to date. As large language models (LLMs) unleash a new era of automation, important debates emerge regarding the benefits and risks of their development, deployment and use. Currently, these debates have been dominated by often polarized narratives mainly led by the AI Safety and AI Ethics movements. This polarization, often amplified by social media, is swaying political agendas on AI regulation and governance and posing issues of regulatory capture. Capture occurs when the regulator advances the interests of the industry it is supposed to regulate, or of special interest groups rather than pursuing the general public interest. Meanwhile in NLP research, attention has been increasingly paid to the discussion of regulating risks and harms. This often happens without systematic methodologies or sufficient rooting in the disciplines that inspire an extended scope of NLP research, jeopardizing the scientific integrity of these endeavors. Regulation studies are a rich source of knowledge on how to systematically deal with risk and uncertainty, as well as with scientific evidence, to evaluate and compare regulatory options. This resource has largely remained untapped so far. In this paper, we argue how NLP research on these topics can benefit from proximity to regulatory studies and adjacent fields. We do so by discussing basic tenets of regulation, and risk and uncertainty, and by highlighting the shortcomings of current NLP discussions dealing with risk assessment. Finally, we advocate for the development of a new multidisciplinary research space on regulation and NLP (RegNLP), focused on connecting scientific knowledge to regulatory processes based on systematic methodologies.
Recent strides in Large Language Models (LLMs) have saturated many NLP benchmarks (even professional domain-specific ones), emphasizing the need for novel, more challenging novel ones to properly assess LLM capabilities. In this paper, we introduce a novel NLP benchmark that poses challenges to current LLMs across four key dimensions: processing long documents (up to 50K tokens), utilizing domain specific knowledge (embodied in legal texts), multilingual understanding (covering five languages), and multitasking (comprising legal document to document Information Retrieval, Court View Generation, Leading Decision Summarization, Citation Extraction, and eight challenging Text Classification tasks). Our benchmark comprises diverse legal NLP datasets from the Swiss legal system, allowing for a comprehensive study of the underlying Non-English, inherently multilingual, federal legal system. Despite recent advances, efficiently processing long documents for intense review/analysis tasks remains an open challenge for language models. Also, comprehensive, domain-specific benchmarks requiring high expertise to develop are rare, as are multilingual benchmarks. This scarcity underscores our contribution's value, considering most public models are trained predominantly on English corpora, while other languages remain understudied, particularly for practical domain-specific NLP tasks. Our benchmark allows for testing and advancing the state-of-the-art LLMs. As part of our study, we evaluate several pre-trained multilingual language models on our benchmark to establish strong baselines as a point of reference. Despite the large size of our datasets (tens to hundreds of thousands of examples), existing publicly available models struggle with most tasks, even after in-domain pretraining. We publish all resources (benchmark suite, pre-trained models, code) under a fully permissive open CC BY-SA license.
Large, high-quality datasets are crucial for training Large Language Models (LLMs). However, so far, there are few datasets available for specialized critical domains such as law and the available ones are often only for the English language. We curate and release MultiLegalPile, a 689GB corpus in 24 languages from 17 jurisdictions. The MultiLegalPile corpus, which includes diverse legal data sources with varying licenses, allows for pretraining NLP models under fair use, with more permissive licenses for the Eurlex Resources and Legal mC4 subsets. We pretrain two RoBERTa models and one Longformer multilingually, and 24 monolingual models on each of the language-specific subsets and evaluate them on LEXTREME. Additionally, we evaluate the English and multilingual models on LexGLUE. Our multilingual models set a new SotA on LEXTREME and our English models on LexGLUE. We release the dataset, the trained models, and all of the code under the most open possible licenses.
The recently released ChatGPT model demonstrates unprecedented capabilities in zero-shot question-answering. In this work, we probe ChatGPT for its conversational understanding and introduce a conversational framework (protocol) that can be adopted in future studies. The Pok\'emon universe serves as an ideal testing ground for auditing ChatGPT's reasoning capabilities due to its closed world assumption. After bringing ChatGPT's background knowledge (on the Pok\'emon universe) to light, we test its reasoning process when using these concepts in battle scenarios. We then evaluate its ability to acquire new knowledge and include it in its reasoning process. Our ultimate goal is to assess ChatGPT's ability to generalize, combine features, and to acquire and reason over newly introduced knowledge from human feedback. We find that ChatGPT has prior knowledge of the Pokemon universe, which can reason upon in battle scenarios to a great extent, even when new information is introduced. The model performs better with collaborative feedback and if there is an initial phase of information retrieval, but also hallucinates occasionally and is susceptible to adversarial attacks.
Learning quality document embeddings is a fundamental problem in natural language processing (NLP), information retrieval (IR), recommendation systems, and search engines. Despite recent advances in the development of transformer-based models that produce sentence embeddings with self-contrastive learning, the encoding of long documents (Ks of words) is still challenging with respect to both efficiency and quality considerations. Therefore, we train Longfomer-based document encoders using a state-of-the-art unsupervised contrastive learning method (SimCSE). Further on, we complement the baseline method -- siamese neural network -- with additional convex neural networks based on functional Bregman divergence aiming to enhance the quality of the output document representations. We show that overall the combination of a self-contrastive siamese network and our proposed neural Bregman network outperforms the baselines in two linear classification settings on three long document topic classification tasks from the legal and biomedical domains.
In this work, we conduct a detailed analysis on the performance of legal-oriented pre-trained language models (PLMs). We examine the interplay between their original objective, acquired knowledge, and legal language understanding capacities which we define as the upstream, probing, and downstream performance, respectively. We consider not only the models' size but also the pre-training corpora used as important dimensions in our study. To this end, we release a multinational English legal corpus (LeXFiles) and a legal knowledge probing benchmark (LegalLAMA) to facilitate training and detailed analysis of legal-oriented PLMs. We release two new legal PLMs trained on LeXFiles and evaluate them alongside others on LegalLAMA and LexGLUE. We find that probing performance strongly correlates with upstream performance in related legal topics. On the other hand, downstream performance is mainly driven by the model's size and prior legal knowledge which can be estimated by upstream and probing performance. Based on these findings, we can conclude that both dimensions are important for those seeking the development of domain-specific PLMs.
Multi-label text classification (MLC) is a challenging task in settings of large label sets, where label support follows a Zipfian distribution. In this paper, we address this problem through retrieval augmentation, aiming to improve the sample efficiency of classification models. Our approach closely follows the standard MLC architecture of a Transformer-based encoder paired with a set of classification heads. In our case, however, the input document representation is augmented through cross-attention to similar documents retrieved from the training set and represented in a task-specific manner. We evaluate this approach on four datasets from the legal and biomedical domains, all of which feature highly skewed label distributions. Our experiments show that retrieval augmentation substantially improves model performance on the long tail of infrequent labels especially so for lower-resource training scenarios and more challenging long-document data scenarios.