In real-world scenarios, labeled samples for dialogue summarization are usually limited (i.e., few-shot) due to high annotation costs for high-quality dialogue summaries. To efficiently learn from few-shot samples, previous works have utilized massive annotated data from other downstream tasks and then performed prompt transfer in prompt tuning so as to enable cross-task knowledge transfer. However, existing general-purpose prompt transfer techniques lack consideration for dialogue-specific information. In this paper, we focus on improving the prompt transfer from dialogue state tracking to dialogue summarization and propose Skeleton-Assisted Prompt Transfer (SAPT), which leverages skeleton generation as extra supervision that functions as a medium connecting the distinct source and target task and resulting in the model's better consumption of dialogue state information. To automatically extract dialogue skeletons as supervised training data for skeleton generation, we design a novel approach with perturbation-based probes requiring neither annotation effort nor domain knowledge. Training the model on such skeletons can also help preserve model capability during prompt transfer. Our method significantly outperforms existing baselines. In-depth analyses demonstrate the effectiveness of our method in facilitating cross-task knowledge transfer in few-shot dialogue summarization.
Multi-hop Question Answering (QA) is a challenging task since it requires an accurate aggregation of information from multiple context paragraphs and a thorough understanding of the underlying reasoning chains. Recent work in multi-hop QA has shown that performance can be boosted by first decomposing the questions into simpler, single-hop questions. In this paper, we explore one additional utility of the multi-hop decomposition from the perspective of explainable NLP: to create explanation by probing a neural QA model with them. We hypothesize that in doing so, users will be better able to construct a mental model of when the underlying QA system will give the correct answer. Through human participant studies, we verify that exposing the decomposition probes and answers to the probes to users can increase their ability to predict system performance on a question instance basis. We show that decomposition is an effective form of probing QA systems as well as a promising approach to explanation generation. In-depth analyses show the need for improvements in decomposition systems.
Automated storytelling has long captured the attention of researchers for the ubiquity of narratives in everyday life. However, it is challenging to maintain coherence and stay on-topic toward a specific ending when generating narratives with neural language models. In this paper, we introduce Story generation with Reader Models (StoRM), a framework in which a reader model is used to reason about the story should progress. A reader model infers what a human reader believes about the concepts, entities, and relations about the fictional story world. We show how an explicit reader model represented as a knowledge graph affords story coherence and provides controllability in the form of achieving a given story world state goal. Experiments show that our model produces significantly more coherent and on-topic stories, outperforming baselines in dimensions including plot plausibility and staying on topic. Our system also outperforms outline-guided story generation baselines in composing given concepts without ordering.
Defining action spaces for conversational agents and optimizing their decision-making process with reinforcement learning is an enduring challenge. Common practice has been to use handcrafted dialog acts, or the output vocabulary, e.g. in neural encoder decoders, as the action spaces. Both have their own limitations. This paper proposes a novel latent action framework that treats the action spaces of an end-to-end dialog agent as latent variables and develops unsupervised methods in order to induce its own action space from the data. Comprehensive experiments are conducted examining both continuous and discrete action types and two different optimization methods based on stochastic variational inference. Results show that the proposed latent actions achieve superior empirical performance improvement over previous word-level policy gradient methods on both DealOrNoDeal and MultiWoz dialogs. Our detailed analysis also provides insights about various latent variable approaches for policy learning and can serve as a foundation for developing better latent actions in future research.
Dialogue state tracking is the core part of a spoken dialogue system. It estimates the beliefs of possible user's goals at every dialogue turn. However, for most current approaches, it's difficult to scale to large dialogue domains. They have one or more of following limitations: (a) Some models don't work in the situation where slot values in ontology changes dynamically; (b) The number of model parameters is proportional to the number of slots; (c) Some models extract features based on hand-crafted lexicons. To tackle these challenges, we propose StateNet, a universal dialogue state tracker. It is independent of the number of values, shares parameters across all slots, and uses pre-trained word vectors instead of explicit semantic dictionaries. Our experiments on two datasets show that our approach not only overcomes the limitations, but also significantly outperforms the performance of state-of-the-art approaches.