Task-oriented dialogue (TOD) systems facilitate users in executing various activities via multi-turn dialogues, but Large Language Models (LLMs) often struggle to comprehend these intricate contexts. In this study, we propose a novel "Self-Explanation" prompting strategy to enhance the comprehension abilities of LLMs in multi-turn dialogues. This task-agnostic approach requires the model to analyze each dialogue utterance before task execution, thereby improving performance across various dialogue-centric tasks. Experimental results from six benchmark datasets confirm that our method consistently outperforms other zero-shot prompts and matches or exceeds the efficacy of few-shot prompts, demonstrating its potential as a powerful tool in enhancing LLMs' comprehension in complex dialogue tasks.
Recent research has shown that multi-task pre-training greatly improves the model's robustness and transfer ability, which is crucial for building a high-quality dialog system. However, most previous works on multi-task pre-training rely heavily on human-defined input format or prompt, which is not optimal in quality and quantity. In this work, we propose to use Task-based Automatic Prompt generation (TAP) to automatically generate high-quality prompts. Using the high-quality prompts generated, we scale the corpus of the pre-trained conversation model to 122 datasets from 15 dialog-related tasks, resulting in Universal Pre-trained Conversation Model (UniPCM), a powerful foundation model for various conversational tasks and different dialog systems. Extensive experiments have shown that UniPCM is robust to input prompts and capable of various dialog-related tasks. Moreover, UniPCM has strong transfer ability and excels at low resource scenarios, achieving SOTA results on 9 different datasets ranging from task-oriented dialog to open-domain conversation. Furthermore, we are amazed to find that TAP can generate prompts on par with those collected with crowdsourcing. The code is released with the paper.
Sentiment analysis is a crucial task that aims to understand people's emotional states and predict emotional categories based on multimodal information. It consists of several subtasks, such as emotion recognition in conversation (ERC), aspect-based sentiment analysis (ABSA), and multimodal sentiment analysis (MSA). However, unifying all subtasks in sentiment analysis presents numerous challenges, including modality alignment, unified input/output forms, and dataset bias. To address these challenges, we propose a Task-Specific Prompt method to jointly model subtasks and introduce a multimodal generative framework called UniSA. Additionally, we organize the benchmark datasets of main subtasks into a new Sentiment Analysis Evaluation benchmark, SAEval. We design novel pre-training tasks and training methods to enable the model to learn generic sentiment knowledge among subtasks to improve the model's multimodal sentiment perception ability. Our experimental results show that UniSA performs comparably to the state-of-the-art on all subtasks and generalizes well to various subtasks in sentiment analysis.
Task-oriented dialogue (TOD) models have great progress in the past few years. However, these studies primarily focus on datasets written by annotators, which has resulted in a gap between academic research and more realistic spoken conversation scenarios. While a few small-scale spoken TOD datasets are proposed to address robustness issues, e.g., ASR errors, they fail to identify the unique challenges in spoken conversation. To tackle the limitations, we introduce SpokenWOZ, a large-scale speech-text dataset for spoken TOD, which consists of 8 domains, 203k turns, 5.7k dialogues and 249 hours of audios from human-to-human spoken conversations. SpokenWOZ incorporates common spoken characteristics such as word-by-word processing and commonsense reasoning. We also present cross-turn slot and reasoning slot detection as new challenges based on the spoken linguistic phenomena. We conduct comprehensive experiments on various models, including text-modal baselines, newly proposed dual-modal baselines and LLMs. The results show the current models still has substantial areas for improvement in spoken conversation, including fine-tuned models and LLMs, i.e., ChatGPT.
Recently, speech-text pre-training methods have shown remarkable success in many speech and natural language processing tasks. However, most previous pre-trained models are usually tailored for one or two specific tasks, but fail to conquer a wide range of speech-text tasks. In addition, existing speech-text pre-training methods fail to explore the contextual information within a dialogue to enrich utterance representations. In this paper, we propose Speech-text dialog Pre-training for spoken dialog understanding with ExpliCiT cRoss-Modal Alignment (SPECTRA), which is the first-ever speech-text dialog pre-training model. Concretely, to consider the temporality of speech modality, we design a novel temporal position prediction task to capture the speech-text alignment. This pre-training task aims to predict the start and end time of each textual word in the corresponding speech waveform. In addition, to learn the characteristics of spoken dialogs, we generalize a response selection task from textual dialog pre-training to speech-text dialog pre-training scenarios. Experimental results on four different downstream speech-text tasks demonstrate the superiority of SPECTRA in learning speech-text alignment and multi-turn dialog context.
Dialogue Topic Segmentation (DTS) plays an essential role in a variety of dialogue modeling tasks. Previous DTS methods either focus on semantic similarity or dialogue coherence to assess topic similarity for unsupervised dialogue segmentation. However, the topic similarity cannot be fully identified via semantic similarity or dialogue coherence. In addition, the unlabeled dialogue data, which contains useful clues of utterance relationships, remains underexploited. In this paper, we propose a novel unsupervised DTS framework, which learns topic-aware utterance representations from unlabeled dialogue data through neighboring utterance matching and pseudo-segmentation. Extensive experiments on two benchmark datasets (i.e., DialSeg711 and Doc2Dial) demonstrate that our method significantly outperforms the strong baseline methods. For reproducibility, we provide our code and data at:https://github.com/AlibabaResearch/DAMO-ConvAI/tree/main/dial-start.
Empathetic dialogue is a human-like behavior that requires the perception of both affective factors (e.g., emotion status) and cognitive factors (e.g., cause of the emotion). Besides concerning emotion status in early work, the latest approaches study emotion causes in empathetic dialogue. These approaches focus on understanding and duplicating emotion causes in the context to show empathy for the speaker. However, instead of only repeating the contextual causes, the real empathic response often demonstrate a logical and emotion-centered transition from the causes in the context to those in the responses. In this work, we propose an emotion cause transition graph to explicitly model the natural transition of emotion causes between two adjacent turns in empathetic dialogue. With this graph, the concept words of the emotion causes in the next turn can be predicted and used by a specifically designed concept-aware decoder to generate the empathic response. Automatic and human experimental results on the benchmark dataset demonstrate that our method produces more empathetic, coherent, informative, and specific responses than existing models.
Practical dialog systems need to deal with various knowledge sources, noisy user expressions, and the shortage of annotated data. To better solve the above problems, we propose CGoDial, new challenging and comprehensive Chinese benchmark for multi-domain Goal-oriented Dialog evaluation. It contains 96,763 dialog sessions and 574,949 dialog turns totally, covering three datasets with different knowledge sources: 1) a slot-based dialog (SBD) dataset with table-formed knowledge, 2) a flow-based dialog (FBD) dataset with tree-formed knowledge, and a retrieval-based dialog (RBD) dataset with candidate-formed knowledge. To bridge the gap between academic benchmarks and spoken dialog scenarios, we either collect data from real conversations or add spoken features to existing datasets via crowd-sourcing. The proposed experimental settings include the combinations of training with either the entire training set or a few-shot training set, and testing with either the standard test set or a hard test subset, which can assess model capabilities in terms of general prediction, fast adaptability and reliable robustness.
Multimodal sentiment analysis (MSA) and emotion recognition in conversation (ERC) are key research topics for computers to understand human behaviors. From a psychological perspective, emotions are the expression of affect or feelings during a short period, while sentiments are formed and held for a longer period. However, most existing works study sentiment and emotion separately and do not fully exploit the complementary knowledge behind the two. In this paper, we propose a multimodal sentiment knowledge-sharing framework (UniMSE) that unifies MSA and ERC tasks from features, labels, and models. We perform modality fusion at the syntactic and semantic levels and introduce contrastive learning between modalities and samples to better capture the difference and consistency between sentiments and emotions. Experiments on four public benchmark datasets, MOSI, MOSEI, MELD, and IEMOCAP, demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method and achieve consistent improvements compared with state-of-the-art methods.
In this paper, we present Duplex Conversation, a multi-turn, multimodal spoken dialogue system that enables telephone-based agents to interact with customers like a human. We use the concept of full-duplex in telecommunication to demonstrate what a human-like interactive experience should be and how to achieve smooth turn-taking through three subtasks: user state detection, backchannel selection, and barge-in detection. Besides, we propose semi-supervised learning with multimodal data augmentation to leverage unlabeled data to increase model generalization. Experimental results on three sub-tasks show that the proposed method achieves consistent improvements compared with baselines. We deploy the Duplex Conversation to Alibaba intelligent customer service and share lessons learned in production. Online A/B experiments show that the proposed system can significantly reduce response latency by 50%.