Current dialogue research primarily studies pairwise (two-party) conversations, and does not address the everyday setting where more than two speakers converse together. In this work, we both collect and evaluate multi-party conversations to study this more general case. We use the LIGHT environment to construct grounded conversations, where each participant has an assigned character to role-play. We thus evaluate the ability of language models to act as one or more characters in such conversations. Models require two skills that pairwise-trained models appear to lack: (1) being able to decide when to talk; (2) producing coherent utterances grounded on multiple characters. We compare models trained on our new dataset to existing pairwise-trained dialogue models, as well as large language models with few-shot prompting. We find that our new dataset, MultiLIGHT, which we will publicly release, can help bring significant improvements in the group setting.
While language models have become more capable of producing compelling language, we find there are still gaps in maintaining consistency, especially when describing events in a dynamically changing world. We study the setting of generating narratives in an open world text adventure game, where a graph representation of the underlying game state can be used to train models that consume and output both grounded graph representations and natural language descriptions and actions. We build a large set of tasks by combining crowdsourced and simulated gameplays with a novel dataset of complex actions in order to to construct such models. We find it is possible to improve the consistency of action narration models by training on graph contexts and targets, even if graphs are not present at test time. This is shown both in automatic metrics and human evaluations. We plan to release our code, the new set of tasks, and best performing models.
We introduce Mephisto, a framework to make crowdsourcing for research more reproducible, transparent, and collaborative. Mephisto provides abstractions that cover a broad set of task designs and data collection workflows, and provides a simple user experience to make best-practices easy defaults. In this whitepaper we discuss the current state of data collection and annotation in ML research, establish the motivation for building a shared framework to enable researchers to create and open-source data collection and annotation tools as part of their publication, and outline a set of suggested requirements for a system to facilitate these goals. We then step through our resolution in Mephisto, explaining the abstractions we use, our design decisions around the user experience, and share implementation details and where they align with the original motivations. We also discuss current limitations, as well as future work towards continuing to deliver on the framework's initial goals. Mephisto is available as an open source project, and its documentation can be found at www.mephisto.ai.
State-of-the-art dialogue models still often stumble with regards to factual accuracy and self-contradiction. Anecdotally, they have been observed to fail to maintain character identity throughout discourse; and more specifically, may take on the role of their interlocutor. In this work we formalize and quantify this deficiency, and show experimentally through human evaluations that this is indeed a problem. In contrast, we show that discriminative models trained specifically to recognize who is speaking can perform well; and further, these can be used as automated metrics. Finally, we evaluate a wide variety of mitigation methods, including changes to model architecture, training protocol, and decoding strategy. Our best models reduce mistaken identity issues by nearly 65% according to human annotators, while simultaneously improving engagingness. Despite these results, we find that maintaining character identity still remains a challenging problem.
Large language models can produce fluent dialogue but often hallucinate factual inaccuracies. While retrieval-augmented models help alleviate this issue, they still face a difficult challenge of both reasoning to provide correct knowledge and generating conversation simultaneously. In this work, we propose a modular model, Knowledge to Response (K2R), for incorporating knowledge into conversational agents, which breaks down this problem into two easier steps. K2R first generates a knowledge sequence, given a dialogue context, as an intermediate step. After this "reasoning step", the model then attends to its own generated knowledge sequence, as well as the dialogue context, to produce a final response. In detailed experiments, we find that such a model hallucinates less in knowledge-grounded dialogue tasks, and has advantages in terms of interpretability and modularity. In particular, it can be used to fuse QA and dialogue systems together to enable dialogue agents to give knowledgeable answers, or QA models to give conversational responses in a zero-shot setting.
We seek to create agents that both act and communicate with other agents in pursuit of a goal. Towards this end, we extend LIGHT (Urbanek et al. 2019)---a large-scale crowd-sourced fantasy text-game---with a dataset of quests. These contain natural language motivations paired with in-game goals and human demonstrations; completing a quest might require dialogue or actions (or both). We introduce a reinforcement learning system that (1) incorporates large-scale language modeling-based and commonsense reasoning-based pre-training to imbue the agent with relevant priors; and (2) leverages a factorized action space of action commands and dialogue, balancing between the two. We conduct zero-shot evaluations using held-out human expert demonstrations, showing that our agents are able to act consistently and talk naturally with respect to their motivations.
Much of NLP research has focused on crowdsourced static datasets and the supervised learning paradigm of training once and then evaluating test performance. As argued in de Vries et al. (2020), crowdsourced data has the issues of lack of naturalness and relevance to real-world use cases, while the static dataset paradigm does not allow for a model to learn from its experiences of using language (Silver et al., 2013). In contrast, one might hope for machine learning systems that become more useful as they interact with people. In this work, we build and deploy a role-playing game, whereby human players converse with learning agents situated in an open-domain fantasy world. We show that by training models on the conversations they have with humans in the game the models progressively improve, as measured by automatic metrics and online engagement scores. This learning is shown to be more efficient than crowdsourced data when applied to conversations with real users, as well as being far cheaper to collect.
We present our view of what is necessary to build an engaging open-domain conversational agent: covering the qualities of such an agent, the pieces of the puzzle that have been built so far, and the gaping holes we have not filled yet. We present a biased view, focusing on work done by our own group, while citing related work in each area. In particular, we discuss in detail the properties of continual learning, providing engaging content, and being well-behaved -- and how to measure success in providing them. We end with a discussion of our experience and learnings, and our recommendations to the community.