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"Sentiment": models, code, and papers

Which side are you on? Insider-Outsider classification in conspiracy-theoretic social media

Mar 30, 2022
Pavan Holur, Tianyi Wang, Shadi Shahsavari, Timothy Tangherlini, Vwani Roychowdhury

Social media is a breeding ground for threat narratives and related conspiracy theories. In these, an outside group threatens the integrity of an inside group, leading to the emergence of sharply defined group identities: Insiders -- agents with whom the authors identify and Outsiders -- agents who threaten the insiders. Inferring the members of these groups constitutes a challenging new NLP task: (i) Information is distributed over many poorly-constructed posts; (ii) Threats and threat agents are highly contextual, with the same post potentially having multiple agents assigned to membership in either group; (iii) An agent's identity is often implicit and transitive; and (iv) Phrases used to imply Outsider status often do not follow common negative sentiment patterns. To address these challenges, we define a novel Insider-Outsider classification task. Because we are not aware of any appropriate existing datasets or attendant models, we introduce a labeled dataset (CT5K) and design a model (NP2IO) to address this task. NP2IO leverages pretrained language modeling to classify Insiders and Outsiders. NP2IO is shown to be robust, generalizing to noun phrases not seen during training, and exceeding the performance of non-trivial baseline models by $20\%$.

* ACL 2022: 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics 8+4 pages, 6 figures 

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Detecting Emotion Carriers by Combining Acoustic and Lexical Representations

Dec 13, 2021
Sebastian P. Bayerl, Aniruddha Tammewar, Korbinian Riedhammer, Giuseppe Riccardi

Personal narratives (PN) - spoken or written - are recollections of facts, people, events, and thoughts from one's own experience. Emotion recognition and sentiment analysis tasks are usually defined at the utterance or document level. However, in this work, we focus on Emotion Carriers (EC) defined as the segments (speech or text) that best explain the emotional state of the narrator ("loss of father", "made me choose"). Once extracted, such EC can provide a richer representation of the user state to improve natural language understanding and dialogue modeling. In previous work, it has been shown that EC can be identified using lexical features. However, spoken narratives should provide a richer description of the context and the users' emotional state. In this paper, we leverage word-based acoustic and textual embeddings as well as early and late fusion techniques for the detection of ECs in spoken narratives. For the acoustic word-level representations, we use Residual Neural Networks (ResNet) pretrained on separate speech emotion corpora and fine-tuned to detect EC. Experiments with different fusion and system combination strategies show that late fusion leads to significant improvements for this task.

* Accepted at ASRU 2021 https://asru2021.org/ 

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The Effectiveness of Intermediate-Task Training for Code-Switched Natural Language Understanding

Jul 21, 2021
Archiki Prasad, Mohammad Ali Rehan, Shreya Pathak, Preethi Jyothi

While recent benchmarks have spurred a lot of new work on improving the generalization of pretrained multilingual language models on multilingual tasks, techniques to improve code-switched natural language understanding tasks have been far less explored. In this work, we propose the use of bilingual intermediate pretraining as a reliable technique to derive large and consistent performance gains on three different NLP tasks using code-switched text. We achieve substantial absolute improvements of 7.87%, 20.15%, and 10.99%, on the mean accuracies and F1 scores over previous state-of-the-art systems for Hindi-English Natural Language Inference (NLI), Question Answering (QA) tasks, and Spanish-English Sentiment Analysis (SA) respectively. We show consistent performance gains on four different code-switched language-pairs (Hindi-English, Spanish-English, Tamil-English and Malayalam-English) for SA. We also present a code-switched masked language modelling (MLM) pretraining technique that consistently benefits SA compared to standard MLM pretraining using real code-switched text.


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Counterfactual Invariance to Spurious Correlations: Why and How to Pass Stress Tests

Jun 02, 2021
Victor Veitch, Alexander D'Amour, Steve Yadlowsky, Jacob Eisenstein

Informally, a `spurious correlation' is the dependence of a model on some aspect of the input data that an analyst thinks shouldn't matter. In machine learning, these have a know-it-when-you-see-it character; e.g., changing the gender of a sentence's subject changes a sentiment predictor's output. To check for spurious correlations, we can `stress test' models by perturbing irrelevant parts of input data and seeing if model predictions change. In this paper, we study stress testing using the tools of causal inference. We introduce \emph{counterfactual invariance} as a formalization of the requirement that changing irrelevant parts of the input shouldn't change model predictions. We connect counterfactual invariance to out-of-domain model performance, and provide practical schemes for learning (approximately) counterfactual invariant predictors (without access to counterfactual examples). It turns out that both the means and implications of counterfactual invariance depend fundamentally on the true underlying causal structure of the data. Distinct causal structures require distinct regularization schemes to induce counterfactual invariance. Similarly, counterfactual invariance implies different domain shift guarantees depending on the underlying causal structure. This theory is supported by empirical results on text classification.


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A Short Survey of Pre-trained Language Models for Conversational AI-A NewAge in NLP

Apr 22, 2021
Munazza Zaib, Quan Z. Sheng, Wei Emma Zhang

Building a dialogue system that can communicate naturally with humans is a challenging yet interesting problem of agent-based computing. The rapid growth in this area is usually hindered by the long-standing problem of data scarcity as these systems are expected to learn syntax, grammar, decision making, and reasoning from insufficient amounts of task-specific dataset. The recently introduced pre-trained language models have the potential to address the issue of data scarcity and bring considerable advantages by generating contextualized word embeddings. These models are considered counterpart of ImageNet in NLP and have demonstrated to capture different facets of language such as hierarchical relations, long-term dependency, and sentiment. In this short survey paper, we discuss the recent progress made in the field of pre-trained language models. We also deliberate that how the strengths of these language models can be leveraged in designing more engaging and more eloquent conversational agents. This paper, therefore, intends to establish whether these pre-trained models can overcome the challenges pertinent to dialogue systems, and how their architecture could be exploited in order to overcome these challenges. Open challenges in the field of dialogue systems have also been deliberated.


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Retraining DistilBERT for a Voice Shopping Assistant by Using Universal Dependencies

Mar 29, 2021
Pratik Jayarao, Arpit Sharma

In this work, we retrained the distilled BERT language model for Walmart's voice shopping assistant on retail domain-specific data. We also injected universal syntactic dependencies to improve the performance of the model further. The Natural Language Understanding (NLU) components of the voice assistants available today are heavily dependent on language models for various tasks. The generic language models such as BERT and RoBERTa are useful for domain-independent assistants but have limitations when they cater to a specific domain. For example, in the shopping domain, the token 'horizon' means a brand instead of its literal meaning. Generic models are not able to capture such subtleties. So, in this work, we retrained a distilled version of the BERT language model on retail domain-specific data for Walmart's voice shopping assistant. We also included universal dependency-based features in the retraining process further to improve the performance of the model on downstream tasks. We evaluated the performance of the retrained language model on four downstream tasks, including intent-entity detection, sentiment analysis, voice title shortening and proactive intent suggestion. We observed an increase in the performance of all the downstream tasks of up to 1.31% on average.

* Published in the Proceedings of The Fourth Workshop on Reasoning and Learning for Human-Machine Dialogues at the Thirty-Fifth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-21) 

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Data Poisoning Attacks and Defenses to Crowdsourcing Systems

Feb 24, 2021
Minghong Fang, Minghao Sun, Qi Li, Neil Zhenqiang Gong, Jin Tian, Jia Liu

A key challenge of big data analytics is how to collect a large volume of (labeled) data. Crowdsourcing aims to address this challenge via aggregating and estimating high-quality data (e.g., sentiment label for text) from pervasive clients/users. Existing studies on crowdsourcing focus on designing new methods to improve the aggregated data quality from unreliable/noisy clients. However, the security aspects of such crowdsourcing systems remain under-explored to date. We aim to bridge this gap in this work. Specifically, we show that crowdsourcing is vulnerable to data poisoning attacks, in which malicious clients provide carefully crafted data to corrupt the aggregated data. We formulate our proposed data poisoning attacks as an optimization problem that maximizes the error of the aggregated data. Our evaluation results on one synthetic and two real-world benchmark datasets demonstrate that the proposed attacks can substantially increase the estimation errors of the aggregated data. We also propose two defenses to reduce the impact of malicious clients. Our empirical results show that the proposed defenses can substantially reduce the estimation errors of the data poisoning attacks.

* To appear in the Web Conference 2021 (WWW '21) 

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User Factor Adaptation for User Embedding via Multitask Learning

Feb 22, 2021
Xiaolei Huang, Michael J. Paul, Robin Burke, Franck Dernoncourt, Mark Dredze

Language varies across users and their interested fields in social media data: words authored by a user across his/her interests may have different meanings (e.g., cool) or sentiments (e.g., fast). However, most of the existing methods to train user embeddings ignore the variations across user interests, such as product and movie categories (e.g., drama vs. action). In this study, we treat the user interest as domains and empirically examine how the user language can vary across the user factor in three English social media datasets. We then propose a user embedding model to account for the language variability of user interests via a multitask learning framework. The model learns user language and its variations without human supervision. While existing work mainly evaluated the user embedding by extrinsic tasks, we propose an intrinsic evaluation via clustering and evaluate user embeddings by an extrinsic task, text classification. The experiments on the three English-language social media datasets show that our proposed approach can generally outperform baselines via adapting the user factor.

* Accepted in the Second Workshop on Domain Adaptation for Natural Language Processing (Adapted-NLP) 

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