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"chatbots": models, code, and papers

Keep Calm and Switch On! Preserving Sentiment and Fluency in Semantic Text Exchange

Aug 30, 2019
Steven Y. Feng, Aaron W. Li, Jesse Hoey

In this paper, we present a novel method for measurably adjusting the semantics of text while preserving its sentiment and fluency, a task we call semantic text exchange. This is useful for text data augmentation and the semantic correction of text generated by chatbots and virtual assistants. We introduce a pipeline called SMERTI that combines entity replacement, similarity masking, and text infilling. We measure our pipeline's success by its Semantic Text Exchange Score (STES): the ability to preserve the original text's sentiment and fluency while adjusting semantic content. We propose to use masking (replacement) rate threshold as an adjustable parameter to control the amount of semantic change in the text. Our experiments demonstrate that SMERTI can outperform baseline models on Yelp reviews, Amazon reviews, and news headlines.

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A Copy-Augmented Sequence-to-Sequence Architecture Gives Good Performance on Task-Oriented Dialogue

Aug 14, 2017
Mihail Eric, Christopher D. Manning

Task-oriented dialogue focuses on conversational agents that participate in user-initiated dialogues on domain-specific topics. In contrast to chatbots, which simply seek to sustain open-ended meaningful discourse, existing task-oriented agents usually explicitly model user intent and belief states. This paper examines bypassing such an explicit representation by depending on a latent neural embedding of state and learning selective attention to dialogue history together with copying to incorporate relevant prior context. We complement recent work by showing the effectiveness of simple sequence-to-sequence neural architectures with a copy mechanism. Our model outperforms more complex memory-augmented models by 7% in per-response generation and is on par with the current state-of-the-art on DSTC2.

* 6 pages 
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GoEmotions: A Dataset of Fine-Grained Emotions

Jun 03, 2020
Dorottya Demszky, Dana Movshovitz-Attias, Jeongwoo Ko, Alan Cowen, Gaurav Nemade, Sujith Ravi

Understanding emotion expressed in language has a wide range of applications, from building empathetic chatbots to detecting harmful online behavior. Advancement in this area can be improved using large-scale datasets with a fine-grained typology, adaptable to multiple downstream tasks. We introduce GoEmotions, the largest manually annotated dataset of 58k English Reddit comments, labeled for 27 emotion categories or Neutral. We demonstrate the high quality of the annotations via Principal Preserved Component Analysis. We conduct transfer learning experiments with existing emotion benchmarks to show that our dataset generalizes well to other domains and different emotion taxonomies. Our BERT-based model achieves an average F1-score of .46 across our proposed taxonomy, leaving much room for improvement.

* Accepted to ACL 2020 
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Unsupervised Context Rewriting for Open Domain Conversation

Oct 30, 2019
Kun Zhou, Kai Zhang, Yu Wu, Shujie Liu, Jingsong Yu

Context modeling has a pivotal role in open domain conversation. Existing works either use heuristic methods or jointly learn context modeling and response generation with an encoder-decoder framework. This paper proposes an explicit context rewriting method, which rewrites the last utterance by considering context history. We leverage pseudo-parallel data and elaborate a context rewriting network, which is built upon the CopyNet with the reinforcement learning method. The rewritten utterance is beneficial to candidate retrieval, explainable context modeling, as well as enabling to employ a single-turn framework to the multi-turn scenario. The empirical results show that our model outperforms baselines in terms of the rewriting quality, the multi-turn response generation, and the end-to-end retrieval-based chatbots.

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DeliData: A dataset for deliberation in multi-party problem solving

Aug 11, 2021
Georgi Karadzhov, Tom Stafford, Andreas Vlachos

Dialogue systems research is traditionally focused on dialogues between two interlocutors, largely ignoring group conversations. Moreover, most previous research is focused either on task-oriented dialogue (e.g.\ restaurant bookings) or user engagement (chatbots), while research on systems for collaborative dialogues is an under-explored area. To this end, we introduce the first publicly available dataset containing collaborative conversations on solving a cognitive task, consisting of 500 group dialogues and 14k utterances. Furthermore, we propose a novel annotation schema that captures deliberation cues and release 50 dialogues annotated with it. Finally, we demonstrate the usefulness of the annotated data in training classifiers to predict the constructiveness of a conversation. The data collection platform, dataset and annotated corpus are publicly available at

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SentEmojiBot: Empathising Conversations Generation with Emojis

May 26, 2021
Akhilesh Ravi, Amit Yadav, Jainish Chauhan, Jatin Dholakia, Naman Jain, Mayank Singh

The increasing use of dialogue agents makes it extremely desirable for them to understand and acknowledge the implied emotions to respond like humans with empathy. Chatbots using traditional techniques analyze emotions based on the context and meaning of the text and lack the understanding of emotions expressed through face. Emojis representing facial expressions present a promising way to express emotions. However, none of the AI systems utilizes emojis for empathetic conversation generation. We propose, SentEmojiBot, based on the SentEmoji dataset, to generate empathetic conversations with a combination of emojis and text. Evaluation metrics show that the BERT-based model outperforms the vanilla transformer model. A user study indicates that the dialogues generated by our model were understandable and adding emojis improved empathetic traits in conversations by 9.8%

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Conversational Agents: Theory and Applications

Feb 07, 2022
Mattias Wahde, Marco Virgolin

In this chapter, we provide a review of conversational agents (CAs), discussing chatbots, intended for casual conversation with a user, as well as task-oriented agents that generally engage in discussions intended to reach one or several specific goals, often (but not always) within a specific domain. We also consider the concept of embodied conversational agents, briefly reviewing aspects such as character animation and speech processing. The many different approaches for representing dialogue in CAs are discussed in some detail, along with methods for evaluating such agents, emphasizing the important topics of accountability and interpretability. A brief historical overview is given, followed by an extensive overview of various applications, especially in the fields of health and education. We end the chapter by discussing benefits and potential risks regarding the societal impact of current and future CA technology.

* preprint of a chapter to appear in Handbook of Computer Learning and Intelligence - Volume 1 
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Improving Computer Generated Dialog with Auxiliary Loss Functions and Custom Evaluation Metrics

Jun 04, 2021
Thomas Conley, Jack St. Clair, Jugal Kalita

Although people have the ability to engage in vapid dialogue without effort, this may not be a uniquely human trait. Since the 1960's researchers have been trying to create agents that can generate artificial conversation. These programs are commonly known as chatbots. With increasing use of neural networks for dialog generation, some conclude that this goal has been achieved. This research joins the quest by creating a dialog generating Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) and by enhancing the ability of this network with auxiliary loss functions and a beam search. Our custom loss functions achieve better cohesion and coherence by including calculations of Maximum Mutual Information (MMI) and entropy. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this system by using a set of custom evaluation metrics inspired by an abundance of previous research and based on tried-and-true principles of Natural Language Processing.

* Proceedings of ICON-2018, Patiala, India. December 2018, pages 143--149 
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