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"chatbots": models, code, and papers

Put Chatbot into Its Interlocutor's Shoes: New Framework to Learn Chatbot Responding with Intention

Apr 23, 2021
Hsuan Su, Jiun-Hao Jhan, Fan-yun Sun, Saurav Sahay, Hung-yi Lee

Most chatbot literature that focuses on improving the fluency and coherence of a chatbot, is dedicated to making chatbots more human-like. However, very little work delves into what really separates humans from chatbots -- humans intrinsically understand the effect their responses have on the interlocutor and often respond with an intention such as proposing an optimistic view to make the interlocutor feel better. This paper proposes an innovative framework to train chatbots to possess human-like intentions. Our framework includes a guiding chatbot and an interlocutor model that plays the role of humans. The guiding chatbot is assigned an intention and learns to induce the interlocutor to reply with responses matching the intention, for example, long responses, joyful responses, responses with specific words, etc. We examined our framework using three experimental setups and evaluated the guiding chatbot with four different metrics to demonstrate flexibility and performance advantages. Additionally, we performed trials with human interlocutors to substantiate the guiding chatbot's effectiveness in influencing the responses of humans to a certain extent. Code will be made available to the public.

* Accepted at NAACL-HLT 2021 
  
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Mental Health Assessment for the Chatbots

Jan 14, 2022
Yong Shan, Jinchao Zhang, Zekang Li, Yang Feng, Jie Zhou

Previous researches on dialogue system assessment usually focus on the quality evaluation (e.g. fluency, relevance, etc) of responses generated by the chatbots, which are local and technical metrics. For a chatbot which responds to millions of online users including minors, we argue that it should have a healthy mental tendency in order to avoid the negative psychological impact on them. In this paper, we establish several mental health assessment dimensions for chatbots (depression, anxiety, alcohol addiction, empathy) and introduce the questionnaire-based mental health assessment methods. We conduct assessments on some well-known open-domain chatbots and find that there are severe mental health issues for all these chatbots. We consider that it is due to the neglect of the mental health risks during the dataset building and the model training procedures. We expect to attract researchers' attention to the serious mental health problems of chatbots and improve the chatbots' ability in positive emotional interaction.

* Work in progress 
  
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"Love is as Complex as Math": Metaphor Generation System for Social Chatbot

Jan 03, 2020
Danning Zheng, Ruihua Song, Tianran Hu, Hao Fu, Jin Zhou

As the wide adoption of intelligent chatbot in human daily life, user demands for such systems evolve from basic task-solving conversations to more casual and friend-like communication. To meet the user needs and build emotional bond with users, it is essential for social chatbots to incorporate more human-like and advanced linguistic features. In this paper, we investigate the usage of a commonly used rhetorical device by human -- metaphor for social chatbot. Our work first designs a metaphor generation framework, which generates topic-aware and novel figurative sentences. By embedding the framework into a chatbot system, we then enables the chatbot to communicate with users using figurative language. Human annotators validate the novelty and properness of the generated metaphors. More importantly, we evaluate the effects of employing metaphors in human-chatbot conversations. Experiments indicate that our system effectively arouses user interests in communicating with our chatbot, resulting in significantly longer human-chatbot conversations.

  
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If I Hear You Correctly: Building and Evaluating Interview Chatbots with Active Listening Skills

Feb 05, 2020
Ziang Xiao, Michelle X. Zhou, Wenxi Chen, Huahai Yang, Changyan Chi

Interview chatbots engage users in a text-based conversation to draw out their views and opinions. It is, however, challenging to build effective interview chatbots that can handle user free-text responses to open-ended questions and deliver engaging user experience. As the first step, we are investigating the feasibility and effectiveness of using publicly available, practical AI technologies to build effective interview chatbots. To demonstrate feasibility, we built a prototype scoped to enable interview chatbots with a subset of active listening skills - the abilities to comprehend a user's input and respond properly. To evaluate the effectiveness of our prototype, we compared the performance of interview chatbots with or without active listening skills on four common interview topics in a live evaluation with 206 users. Our work presents practical design implications for building effective interview chatbots, hybrid chatbot platforms, and empathetic chatbots beyond interview tasks.

* Working draft. To appear in the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2020) 
  
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Addressing Inquiries about History: An Efficient and Practical Framework for Evaluating Open-domain Chatbot Consistency

Jun 04, 2021
Zekang Li, Jinchao Zhang, Zhengcong Fei, Yang Feng, Jie Zhou

A good open-domain chatbot should avoid presenting contradictory responses about facts or opinions in a conversational session, known as its consistency capacity. However, evaluating the consistency capacity of a chatbot is still challenging. Employing human judges to interact with chatbots on purpose to check their capacities is costly and low-efficient, and difficult to get rid of subjective bias. In this paper, we propose the Addressing Inquiries about History (AIH), an efficient and practical framework for the consistency evaluation. At the conversation stage, AIH attempts to address appropriate inquiries about the dialogue history to induce the chatbot to redeclare the historical facts or opinions. We carry out the conversation between chatbots, which is more efficient than the human-bot interaction and can also alleviate the subjective bias. In this way, we manage to rapidly obtain a dialog session that contains responses with high contradiction possibilities. At the contradiction recognition stage, we can either employ human judges or a natural language inference (NLI) model to recognize whether the answers to the inquiries are contradictory with history. Finally, we are able to rank chatbots according to the contradiction statistics. Experiments on open-domain chatbots show that our approach can efficiently and reliably assess the consistency capacity of chatbots and achieve a high ranking correlation with the human evaluation. We release the framework and hope to help improve the consistency capacity of chatbots. \footnote{\url{https://github.com/ictnlp/AIH}}

* Findings of ACL2021 
  
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Tell Me About Yourself: Using an AI-Powered Chatbot to Conduct Conversational Surveys

May 25, 2019
Ziang Xiao, Michelle X. Zhou, Q. Vera Liao, Gloria Mark, Changyan Chi, Wenxi Chen, Huahai Yang

The rise of increasingly more powerful chatbots offers a new way to collect information through conversational surveys, where a chatbot asks open-ended questions, interprets a user's free-text responses, and probes answers when needed. To investigate the effectiveness and limitations of such a chatbot in conducting surveys, we conducted a field study involving about 600 participants. In this study, half of the participants took a typical online survey on Qualtrics and the other half interacted with an AI-powered chatbot to complete a conversational survey. Our detailed analysis of over 5200 free-text responses revealed that the chatbot drove a significantly higher level of participant engagement and elicited significantly better quality responses in terms of relevance, depth, and readability. Based on our results, we discuss design implications for creating AI-powered chatbots to conduct effective surveys and beyond.

* Currently under review 
  
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A Deep Learning Approach to Integrate Human-Level Understanding in a Chatbot

Dec 31, 2021
Afia Fairoose Abedin, Amirul Islam Al Mamun, Rownak Jahan Nowrin, Amitabha Chakrabarty, Moin Mostakim, Sudip Kumar Naskar

In recent times, a large number of people have been involved in establishing their own businesses. Unlike humans, chatbots can serve multiple customers at a time, are available 24/7 and reply in less than a fraction of a second. Though chatbots perform well in task-oriented activities, in most cases they fail to understand personalized opinions, statements or even queries which later impact the organization for poor service management. Lack of understanding capabilities in bots disinterest humans to continue conversations with them. Usually, chatbots give absurd responses when they are unable to interpret a user's text accurately. Extracting the client reviews from conversations by using chatbots, organizations can reduce the major gap of understanding between the users and the chatbot and improve their quality of products and services.Thus, in our research we incorporated all the key elements that are necessary for a chatbot to analyse and understand an input text precisely and accurately. We performed sentiment analysis, emotion detection, intent classification and named-entity recognition using deep learning to develop chatbots with humanistic understanding and intelligence. The efficiency of our approach can be demonstrated accordingly by the detailed analysis.

  
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From Eliza to XiaoIce: Challenges and Opportunities with Social Chatbots

Feb 09, 2018
Heung-Yeung Shum, Xiaodong He, Di Li

Conversational systems have come a long way since their inception in the 1960s. After decades of research and development, we've seen progress from Eliza and Parry in the 60's and 70's, to task-completion systems as in the DARPA Communicator program in the 2000s, to intelligent personal assistants such as Siri in the 2010s, to today's social chatbots like XiaoIce. Social chatbots' appeal lies not only in their ability to respond to users' diverse requests, but also in being able to establish an emotional connection with users. The latter is done by satisfying users' need for communication, affection, as well as social belonging. To further the advancement and adoption of social chatbots, their design must focus on user engagement and take both intellectual quotient (IQ) and emotional quotient (EQ) into account. Users should want to engage with a social chatbot; as such, we define the success metric for social chatbots as conversation-turns per session (CPS). Using XiaoIce as an illustrative example, we discuss key technologies in building social chatbots from core chat to visual awareness to skills. We also show how XiaoIce can dynamically recognize emotion and engage the user throughout long conversations with appropriate interpersonal responses. As we become the first generation of humans ever living with AI, we have a responsibility to design social chatbots to be both useful and empathetic, so they will become ubiquitous and help society as a whole.

  
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