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"chatbots": models, code, and papers

Lingke: A Fine-grained Multi-turn Chatbot for Customer Service

Aug 10, 2018
Pengfei Zhu, Zhuosheng Zhang, Jiangtong Li, Yafang Huang, Hai Zhao

Traditional chatbots usually need a mass of human dialogue data, especially when using supervised machine learning method. Though they can easily deal with single-turn question answering, for multi-turn the performance is usually unsatisfactory. In this paper, we present Lingke, an information retrieval augmented chatbot which is able to answer questions based on given product introduction document and deal with multi-turn conversations. We will introduce a fine-grained pipeline processing to distill responses based on unstructured documents, and attentive sequential context-response matching for multi-turn conversations.

* Accepted by COLING 2018 demonstration paper 
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Towards a Human-like Open-Domain Chatbot

Feb 27, 2020
Daniel Adiwardana, Minh-Thang Luong, David R. So, Jamie Hall, Noah Fiedel, Romal Thoppilan, Zi Yang, Apoorv Kulshreshtha, Gaurav Nemade, Yifeng Lu, Quoc V. Le

We present Meena, a multi-turn open-domain chatbot trained end-to-end on data mined and filtered from public domain social media conversations. This 2.6B parameter neural network is simply trained to minimize perplexity of the next token. We also propose a human evaluation metric called Sensibleness and Specificity Average (SSA), which captures key elements of a human-like multi-turn conversation. Our experiments show strong correlation between perplexity and SSA. The fact that the best perplexity end-to-end trained Meena scores high on SSA (72% on multi-turn evaluation) suggests that a human-level SSA of 86% is potentially within reach if we can better optimize perplexity. Additionally, the full version of Meena (with a filtering mechanism and tuned decoding) scores 79% SSA, 23% higher in absolute SSA than the existing chatbots we evaluated.

* 38 pages, 12 figures 
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The Mimicry Game: Towards Self-recognition in Chatbots

Feb 06, 2020
Yigit Oktar, Erdem Okur, Mehmet Turkan

In standard Turing test, a machine has to prove its humanness to the judges. By successfully imitating a thinking entity such as a human, this machine then proves that it can also think. However, many objections are raised against the validity of this argument. Such objections claim that Turing test is not a tool to demonstrate existence of general intelligence or thinking activity. In this light, alternatives to Turing test are to be investigated. Self-recognition tests applied on animals through mirrors appear to be a viable alternative to demonstrate the existence of a type of general intelligence. Methodology here constructs a textual version of the mirror test by placing the chatbot (in this context) as the one and only judge to figure out whether the contacted one is an other, a mimicker, or oneself in an unsupervised manner. This textual version of the mirror test is objective, self-contained, and is mostly immune to objections raised against the Turing test. Any chatbot passing this textual mirror test should have or acquire a thought mechanism that can be referred to as the inner-voice, answering the original and long lasting question of Turing "Can machines think?" in a constructive manner.

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The Design and Implementation of XiaoIce, an Empathetic Social Chatbot

Dec 21, 2018
Li Zhou, Jianfeng Gao, Di Li, Heung-Yeung Shum

This paper describes the development of the Microsoft XiaoIce system, the most popular social chatbot in the world. XiaoIce is uniquely designed as an AI companion with an emotional connection to satisfy the human need for communication, affection, and social belonging. We take into account both intelligent quotient (IQ) and emotional quotient (EQ) in system design, cast human-machine social chat as decision-making over Markov Decision Processes (MDPs), and optimize XiaoIce for long-term user engagement, measured in expected Conversation-turns Per Session (CPS). We detail the system architecture and key components including dialogue manager, core chat, skills, and an empathetic computing module. We show how XiaoIce dynamically recognizes human feelings and states, understands user intents, and responds to user needs throughout long conversations. Since the release in 2014, XiaoIce has communicated with over 660 million users and succeeded in establishing long-term relationships with many of them. Analysis of large-scale online logs shows that XiaoIce has achieved an average CPS of 23, which is significantly higher than that of other chatbots and even human conversations.

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Low-Resource Adaptation of Open-Domain Generative Chatbots

Aug 13, 2021
Greyson Gerhard-Young, Raviteja Anantha, Srinivas Chappidi, Björn Hoffmeister

Recent work building open-domain chatbots has demonstrated that increasing model size improves performance. On the other hand, latency and connectivity considerations dictate the move of digital assistants on the device. Giving a digital assistant like Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant the ability to discuss just about anything leads to the need for reducing the chatbot model size such that it fits on the user's device. We demonstrate that low parameter models can simultaneously retain their general knowledge conversational abilities while improving in a specific domain. Additionally, we propose a generic framework that accounts for variety in question types, tracks reference throughout multi-turn conversations, and removes inconsistent and potentially toxic responses. Our framework seamlessly transitions between chatting and performing transactional tasks, which will ultimately make interactions with digital assistants more human-like. We evaluate our framework on 1 internal and 4 public benchmark datasets using both automatic (Perplexity) and human (SSA - Sensibleness and Specificity Average) evaluation metrics and establish comparable performance while reducing model parameters by 90%.

* Preview draft 
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Building Chatbots from Forum Data: Model Selection Using Question Answering Metrics

Oct 02, 2017
Martin Boyanov, Ivan Koychev, Preslav Nakov, Alessandro Moschitti, Giovanni Da San Martino

We propose to use question answering (QA) data from Web forums to train chatbots from scratch, i.e., without dialog training data. First, we extract pairs of question and answer sentences from the typically much longer texts of questions and answers in a forum. We then use these shorter texts to train seq2seq models in a more efficient way. We further improve the parameter optimization using a new model selection strategy based on QA measures. Finally, we propose to use extrinsic evaluation with respect to a QA task as an automatic evaluation method for chatbots. The evaluation shows that the model achieves a MAP of 63.5% on the extrinsic task. Moreover, it can answer correctly 49.5% of the questions when they are similar to questions asked in the forum, and 47.3% of the questions when they are more conversational in style.

* RANLP-2017 
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Incorporating Interlocutor-Aware Context into Response Generation on Multi-Party Chatbots

Oct 29, 2019
Cao Liu, Kang Liu, Shizhu He, Zaiqing Nie, Jun Zhao

Conventional chatbots focus on two-party response generation, which simplifies the real dialogue scene. In this paper, we strive toward a novel task of Response Generation on Multi-Party Chatbot (RGMPC), where the generated responses heavily rely on the interlocutors' roles (e.g., speaker and addressee) and their utterances. Unfortunately, complex interactions among the interlocutors' roles make it challenging to precisely capture conversational contexts and interlocutors' information. Facing this challenge, we present a response generation model which incorporates Interlocutor-aware Contexts into Recurrent Encoder-Decoder frameworks (ICRED) for RGMPC. Specifically, we employ interactive representations to capture dialogue contexts for different interlocutors. Moreover, we leverage an addressee memory to enhance contextual interlocutor information for the target addressee. Finally, we construct a corpus for RGMPC based on an existing open-access dataset. Automatic and manual evaluations demonstrate that the ICRED remarkably outperforms strong baselines.

* Accepted to CoNLL 2019 
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Emily: Developing An Emotion-affective Open-Domain Chatbot with Knowledge Graph-based Persona

Sep 18, 2021
Weixuan Wang, Xiaoling Cai, Chong Hsuan Huang, Haoran Wang, Haonan Lu, Ximing Liu, Wei Peng

In this paper, we describe approaches for developing Emily, an emotion-affective open-domain chatbot. Emily can perceive a user's negative emotion state and offer supports by positively converting the user's emotion states. This is done by finetuning a pretrained dialogue model upon data capturing dialogue contexts and desirable emotion states transition across turns. Emily can differentiate a general open-domain dialogue utterance with questions relating to personal information. By leveraging a question-answering approach based on knowledge graphs to handle personal information, Emily maintains personality consistency. We evaluate Emily against a few state-of-the-art open-domain chatbots and show the effects of the proposed approaches in emotion affecting and addressing personality inconsistency.

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VIRATrustData: A Trust-Annotated Corpus of Human-Chatbot Conversations About COVID-19 Vaccines

May 24, 2022
Roni Friedman, João Sedoc, Shai Gretz, Assaf Toledo, Rose Weeks, Naor Bar-Zeev, Yoav Katz, Noam Slonim

Public trust in medical information is crucial for successful application of public health policies such as vaccine uptake. This is especially true when the information is offered remotely, by chatbots, which have become increasingly popular in recent years. Here, we explore the challenging task of human-bot turn-level trust classification. We rely on a recently released data of observationally-collected (rather than crowdsourced) dialogs with VIRA chatbot, a COVID-19 Vaccine Information Resource Assistant. These dialogs are centered around questions and concerns about COVID-19 vaccines, where trust is particularly acute. We annotated $3k$ VIRA system-user conversational turns for Low Institutional Trust or Low Agent Trust vs. Neutral or High Trust. We release the labeled dataset, VIRATrustData, the first of its kind to the best of our knowledge. We demonstrate how this task is non-trivial and compare several models that predict the different levels of trust.

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