Group fairness is a central research topic in text classification, where reaching fair treatment between sensitive groups (e.g. women vs. men) remains an open challenge. This paper presents a novel method for mitigating biases in neural text classification, agnostic to the model architecture. Considering the difficulty to distinguish fair from unfair information in a text encoder, we take inspiration from adversarial training to induce Wasserstein independence between representations learned to predict our target label and the ones learned to predict some sensitive attribute. Our approach provides two significant advantages. Firstly, it does not require annotations of sensitive attributes in both testing and training data. This is more suitable for real-life scenarios compared to existing methods that require annotations of sensitive attributes at train time. Second, our approach exhibits a comparable or better fairness-accuracy trade-off compared to existing methods.
Backdoor attacks have become a major security threat for deploying machine learning models in security-critical applications. Existing research endeavors have proposed many defenses against backdoor attacks. Despite demonstrating certain empirical defense efficacy, none of these techniques could provide a formal and provable security guarantee against arbitrary attacks. As a result, they can be easily broken by strong adaptive attacks, as shown in our evaluation. In this work, we propose TextGuard, the first provable defense against backdoor attacks on text classification. In particular, TextGuard first divides the (backdoored) training data into sub-training sets, achieved by splitting each training sentence into sub-sentences. This partitioning ensures that a majority of the sub-training sets do not contain the backdoor trigger. Subsequently, a base classifier is trained from each sub-training set, and their ensemble provides the final prediction. We theoretically prove that when the length of the backdoor trigger falls within a certain threshold, TextGuard guarantees that its prediction will remain unaffected by the presence of the triggers in training and testing inputs. In our evaluation, we demonstrate the effectiveness of TextGuard on three benchmark text classification tasks, surpassing the certification accuracy of existing certified defenses against backdoor attacks. Furthermore, we propose additional strategies to enhance the empirical performance of TextGuard. Comparisons with state-of-the-art empirical defenses validate the superiority of TextGuard in countering multiple backdoor attacks. Our code and data are available at https://github.com/AI-secure/TextGuard.
Retrained large language models (LLMs) have become extensively used across various sub-disciplines of natural language processing (NLP). In NLP, text classification problems have garnered considerable focus, but still faced with some limitations related to expensive computational cost, time consumption, and robust performance to unseen classes. With the proposal of chain of thought prompting (CoT), LLMs can be implemented using zero-shot learning (ZSL) with the step by step reasoning prompts, instead of conventional question and answer formats. The zero-shot LLMs in the text classification problems can alleviate these limitations by directly utilizing pretrained models to predict both seen and unseen classes. Our research primarily validates the capability of GPT models in text classification. We focus on effectively utilizing prompt strategies to various text classification scenarios. Besides, we compare the performance of zero shot LLMs with other state of the art text classification methods, including traditional machine learning methods, deep learning methods, and ZSL methods. Experimental results demonstrate that the performance of LLMs underscores their effectiveness as zero-shot text classifiers in three of the four datasets analyzed. The proficiency is especially advantageous for small businesses or teams that may not have extensive knowledge in text classification.
Downstream applications often require text classification models to be accurate, robust, and interpretable. While the accuracy of the stateof-the-art language models approximates human performance, they are not designed to be interpretable and often exhibit a drop in performance on noisy data. The family of PrototypeBased Networks (PBNs) that classify examples based on their similarity to prototypical examples of a class (prototypes) is natively interpretable and shown to be robust to noise, which enabled its wide usage for computer vision tasks. In this paper, we study whether the robustness properties of PBNs transfer to text classification tasks. We design a modular and comprehensive framework for studying PBNs, which includes different backbone architectures, backbone sizes, and objective functions. Our evaluation protocol assesses the robustness of models against character-, word-, and sentence-level perturbations. Our experiments on three benchmarks show that the robustness of PBNs transfers to NLP classification tasks facing realistic perturbations. Moreover, the robustness of PBNs is supported mostly by the objective function that keeps prototypes interpretable, while the robustness superiority of PBNs over vanilla models becomes more salient as datasets get more complex.
Adapting pre-trained language models (PLMs) for time-series text classification amidst evolving domain shifts (EDS) is critical for maintaining accuracy in applications like stance detection. This study benchmarks the effectiveness of evolving domain adaptation (EDA) strategies, notably self-training, domain-adversarial training, and domain-adaptive pretraining, with a focus on an incremental self-training method. Our analysis across various datasets reveals that this incremental method excels at adapting PLMs to EDS, outperforming traditional domain adaptation techniques. These findings highlight the importance of continually updating PLMs to ensure their effectiveness in real-world applications, paving the way for future research into PLM robustness against the natural temporal evolution of language.
Text classification aims to effectively categorize documents into pre-defined categories. Traditional methods for text classification often rely on large amounts of manually annotated training data, making the process time-consuming and labor-intensive. To address this issue, recent studies have focused on weakly-supervised and extremely weakly-supervised settings, which require minimal or no human annotation, respectively. In previous methods of weakly supervised text classification, pseudo-training data is generated by assigning pseudo-labels to documents based on their alignment (e.g., keyword matching) with specific classes. However, these methods ignore the importance of incorporating the explanations of the generated pseudo-labels, or saliency of individual words, as additional guidance during the text classification training process. To address this limitation, we propose XAI-CLASS, a novel explanation-enhanced extremely weakly-supervised text classification method that incorporates word saliency prediction as an auxiliary task. XAI-CLASS begins by employing a multi-round question-answering process to generate pseudo-training data that promotes the mutual enhancement of class labels and corresponding explanation word generation. This pseudo-training data is then used to train a multi-task framework that simultaneously learns both text classification and word saliency prediction. Extensive experiments on several weakly-supervised text classification datasets show that XAI-CLASS outperforms other weakly-supervised text classification methods significantly. Moreover, experiments demonstrate that XAI-CLASS enhances both model performance and explainability.
Deep learning approaches exhibit promising performances on various text tasks. However, they are still struggling on medical text classification since samples are often extremely imbalanced and scarce. Different from existing mainstream approaches that focus on supplementary semantics with external medical information, this paper aims to rethink the data challenges in medical texts and present a novel framework-agnostic algorithm called Text2Tree that only utilizes internal label hierarchy in training deep learning models. We embed the ICD code tree structure of labels into cascade attention modules for learning hierarchy-aware label representations. Two new learning schemes, Similarity Surrogate Learning (SSL) and Dissimilarity Mixup Learning (DML), are devised to boost text classification by reusing and distinguishing samples of other labels following the label representation hierarchy, respectively. Experiments on authoritative public datasets and real-world medical records show that our approach stably achieves superior performances over classical and advanced imbalanced classification methods.
Modern machine learning models are becoming increasingly expensive to train for real-world image and text classification tasks, where massive web-scale data is collected in a streaming fashion. To reduce the training cost, online batch selection techniques have been developed to choose the most informative datapoints. However, these techniques can suffer from poor worst-class generalization performance due to class imbalance and distributional shifts. This work introduces REDUCR, a robust and efficient data downsampling method that uses class priority reweighting. REDUCR reduces the training data while preserving worst-class generalization performance. REDUCR assigns priority weights to datapoints in a class-aware manner using an online learning algorithm. We demonstrate the data efficiency and robust performance of REDUCR on vision and text classification tasks. On web-scraped datasets with imbalanced class distributions, REDUCR significantly improves worst-class test accuracy (and average accuracy), surpassing state-of-the-art methods by around 15%.
Pre-trained language models (PLMs) have seen tremendous success in text classification (TC) problems in the context of Natural Language Processing (NLP). In many real-world text classification tasks, the class definitions being learned do not remain constant but rather change with time - this is known as Concept Shift. Most techniques for handling concept shift rely on retraining the old classifiers with the newly labelled data. However, given the amount of training data required to fine-tune large DL models for the new concepts, the associated labelling costs can be prohibitively expensive and time consuming. In this work, we propose a reformulation, converting vanilla classification into an entailment-style problem that requires significantly less data to re-train the text classifier to adapt to new concepts. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed method on both real world & synthetic datasets achieving absolute F1 gains upto 7% and 40% respectively in few-shot settings. Further, upon deployment, our solution also helped save 75% of labeling costs overall.