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"chatbots": models, code, and papers

Deep Learning Based Chatbot Models

Aug 23, 2019
Richard Csaky

A conversational agent (chatbot) is a piece of software that is able to communicate with humans using natural language. Modeling conversation is an important task in natural language processing and artificial intelligence. While chatbots can be used for various tasks, in general they have to understand users' utterances and provide responses that are relevant to the problem at hand. In my work, I conduct an in-depth survey of recent literature, examining over 70 publications related to chatbots published in the last 3 years. Then, I proceed to make the argument that the very nature of the general conversation domain demands approaches that are different from current state-of-of-the-art architectures. Based on several examples from the literature I show why current chatbot models fail to take into account enough priors when generating responses and how this affects the quality of the conversation. In the case of chatbots, these priors can be outside sources of information that the conversation is conditioned on like the persona or mood of the conversers. In addition to presenting the reasons behind this problem, I propose several ideas on how it could be remedied. The next section focuses on adapting the very recent Transformer model to the chatbot domain, which is currently state-of-the-art in neural machine translation. I first present experiments with the vanilla model, using conversations extracted from the Cornell Movie-Dialog Corpus. Secondly, I augment the model with some of my ideas regarding the issues of encoder-decoder architectures. More specifically, I feed additional features into the model like mood or persona together with the raw conversation data. Finally, I conduct a detailed analysis of how the vanilla model performs on conversational data by comparing it to previous chatbot models and how the additional features affect the quality of the generated responses.

* 67 pages. Written in October of 2017 for a university conference. In April of 2019, it won first place at the Hungarian Scientific Students' Associations Report, which is a national competition-like conference for students 

Assessing Political Prudence of Open-domain Chatbots

Jun 11, 2021
Yejin Bang, Nayeon Lee, Etsuko Ishii, Andrea Madotto, Pascale Fung

Politically sensitive topics are still a challenge for open-domain chatbots. However, dealing with politically sensitive content in a responsible, non-partisan, and safe behavior way is integral for these chatbots. Currently, the main approach to handling political sensitivity is by simply changing such a topic when it is detected. This is safe but evasive and results in a chatbot that is less engaging. In this work, as a first step towards a politically safe chatbot, we propose a group of metrics for assessing their political prudence. We then conduct political prudence analysis of various chatbots and discuss their behavior from multiple angles through our automatic metric and human evaluation metrics. The testsets and codebase are released to promote research in this area.

* SIGDIAL 2021 - Safety for E2E Conversational AI (Camera-ready Version) 

An ontology-based chatbot for crises management: use case coronavirus

Nov 02, 2020
Khouloud Hwerbi

Today is the era of intelligence in machines. With the advances in Artificial Intelligence, machines have started to impersonate different human traits, a chatbot is the next big thing in the domain of conversational services. A chatbot is a virtual person who is capable to carry out a natural conversation with people. They can include skills that enable them to converse with the humans in audio, visual, or textual formats. Artificial intelligence conversational entities, also called chatbots, conversational agents, or dialogue system, are an excellent example of such machines. Obtaining the right information at the right time and place is the key to effective disaster management. The term "disaster management" encompasses both natural and human-caused disasters. To assist citizens, our project is to create a COVID Assistant to provide the need of up to date information to be available 24 hours. With the growth in the World Wide Web, it is quite intelligible that users are interested in the swift and relatedly correct information for their hunt. A chatbot can be seen as a question-and-answer system in which experts provide knowledge to solicit users. This master thesis is dedicated to discuss COVID Assistant chatbot and explain each component in detail. The design of the proposed chatbot is introduced by its seven components: Ontology, Web Scraping module, DB, State Machine, keyword Extractor, Trained chatbot, and User Interface.


One System to Rule them All: a Universal Intent Recognition System for Customer Service Chatbots

Dec 15, 2021
Juan Camilo Vasquez-Correa, Juan Carlos Guerrero-Sierra, Jose Luis Pemberty-Tamayo, Juan Esteban Jaramillo, Andres Felipe Tejada-Castro

Customer service chatbots are conversational systems designed to provide information to customers about products/services offered by different companies. Particularly, intent recognition is one of the core components in the natural language understating capabilities of a chatbot system. Among the different intents that a chatbot is trained to recognize, there is a set of them that is universal to any customer service chatbot. Universal intents may include salutation, switch the conversation to a human agent, farewells, among others. A system to recognize those universal intents will be very helpful to optimize the training process of specific customer service chatbots. We propose the development of a universal intent recognition system, which is trained to recognize a selected group of 11 intents that are common in 28 different chatbots. The proposed system is trained considering state-of-the-art word-embedding models such as word2vec and BERT, and deep classifiers based on convolutional and recurrent neural networks. The proposed model is able to discriminate between those universal intents with a balanced accuracy up to 80.4\%. In addition, the proposed system is equally accurate to recognize intents expressed both in short and long text requests. At the same time, misclassification errors often occurs between intents with very similar semantic fields such as farewells and positive comments. The proposed system will be very helpful to optimize the training process of a customer service chatbot because some of the intents will be already available and detected by our system. At the same time, the proposed approach will be a suitable base model to train more specific chatbots by applying transfer learning strategies.


A Comparison of Natural Language Understanding Platforms for Chatbots in Software Engineering

Dec 04, 2020
Ahmad Abdellatif, Khaled Badran, Diego Elias Costa, Emad Shihab

Chatbots are envisioned to dramatically change the future of Software Engineering, allowing practitioners to chat and inquire about their software projects and interact with different services using natural language. At the heart of every chatbot is a Natural Language Understanding (NLU) component that enables the chatbot to understand natural language input. Recently, many NLU platforms were provided to serve as an off-the-shelf NLU component for chatbots, however, selecting the best NLU for Software Engineering chatbots remains an open challenge. Therefore, in this paper, we evaluate four of the most commonly used NLUs, namely IBM Watson, Google Dialogflow, Rasa, and Microsoft LUIS to shed light on which NLU should be used in Software Engineering based chatbots. Specifically, we examine the NLUs' performance in classifying intents, confidence scores stability, and extracting entities. To evaluate the NLUs, we use two datasets that reflect two common tasks performed by Software Engineering practitioners, 1) the task of chatting with the chatbot to ask questions about software repositories 2) the task of asking development questions on Q&A forums (e.g., Stack Overflow). According to our findings, IBM Watson is the best performing NLU when considering the three aspects (intents classification, confidence scores, and entity extraction). However, the results from each individual aspect show that, in intents classification, IBM Watson performs the best with an F1-measure > 84%, but in confidence scores, Rasa comes on top with a median confidence score higher than 0.91. Our results also show that all NLUs, except for Dialogflow, generally provide trustable confidence scores. For entity extraction, Microsoft LUIS and IBM Watson outperform other NLUs in the two SE tasks. Our results provide guidance to software engineering practitioners when deciding which NLU to use in their chatbots.


Emotionally-Aware Chatbots: A Survey

Jun 24, 2019
Endang Wahyu Pamungkas

Textual conversational agent or chatbots' development gather tremendous traction from both academia and industries in recent years. Nowadays, chatbots are widely used as an agent to communicate with a human in some services such as booking assistant, customer service, and also a personal partner. The biggest challenge in building chatbot is to build a humanizing machine to improve user engagement. Some studies show that emotion is an important aspect to humanize machine, including chatbot. In this paper, we will provide a systematic review of approaches in building an emotionally-aware chatbot (EAC). As far as our knowledge, there is still no work focusing on this area. We propose three research question regarding EAC studies. We start with the history and evolution of EAC, then several approaches to build EAC by previous studies, and some available resources in building EAC. Based on our investigation, we found that in the early development, EAC exploits a simple rule-based approach while now most of EAC use neural-based approach. We also notice that most of EAC contain emotion classifier in their architecture, which utilize several available affective resources. We also predict that the development of EAC will continue to gain more and more attention from scholars, noted by some recent studies propose new datasets for building EAC in various languages.


CheerBots: Chatbots toward Empathy and Emotionusing Reinforcement Learning

Oct 08, 2021
Jiun-Hao Jhan, Chao-Peng Liu, Shyh-Kang Jeng, Hung-Yi Lee

Apart from the coherence and fluency of responses, an empathetic chatbot emphasizes more on people's feelings. By considering altruistic behaviors between human interaction, empathetic chatbots enable people to get a better interactive and supportive experience. This study presents a framework whereby several empathetic chatbots are based on understanding users' implied feelings and replying empathetically for multiple dialogue turns. We call these chatbots CheerBots. CheerBots can be retrieval-based or generative-based and were finetuned by deep reinforcement learning. To respond in an empathetic way, we develop a simulating agent, a Conceptual Human Model, as aids for CheerBots in training with considerations on changes in user's emotional states in the future to arouse sympathy. Finally, automatic metrics and human rating results demonstrate that CheerBots outperform other baseline chatbots and achieves reciprocal altruism. The code and the pre-trained models will be made available.


Discovering Chatbot's Self-Disclosure's Impact on User Trust, Affinity, and Recommendation Effectiveness

Jun 03, 2021
Kai-Hui Liang, Weiyan Shi, Yoojung Oh, Jingwen Zhang, Zhou Yu

In recent years, chatbots have been empowered to engage in social conversations with humans and have the potential to elicit people to disclose their personal experiences, opinions, and emotions. However, how and to what extent people respond to chabots' self-disclosure remain less known. In this work, we designed a social chatbot with three self-disclosure levels that conducted small talks and provided relevant recommendations to people. 372 MTurk participants were randomized to one of the four groups with different self-disclosure levels to converse with the chatbot on two topics, movies, and COVID-19. We found that people's self-disclosure level was strongly reciprocal to a chatbot's self-disclosure level. Chatbots' self-disclosure also positively impacted engagement and users' perception of the bot and led to a more effective recommendation such that participants enjoyed and agreed more with the recommendations.


Developing FB Chatbot Based on Deep Learning Using RASA Framework for University Enquiries

Sep 25, 2020
Yurio Windiatmoko, Ahmad Fathan Hidayatullah, Ridho Rahmadi

Smart systems for Universities powered by Artificial Intelligence have been massively developed to help humans in various tasks. The chatbot concept is not something new in today society which is developing with recent technology. College students or candidates of college students often need actual information like asking for something to customer service, especially during this pandemic, when it is difficult to have an immediate face-to-face meeting. Chatbots are functionally helping in several things such as curriculum information, admission for new students, schedule info for any lecture courses, students grade information, and some adding features for Muslim worships schedule, also weather forecast information. This Chatbot is developed by Deep Learning models, which was adopted by an artificial intelligence model that replicates human intelligence with some specific training schemes. This kind of Deep Learning is based on RNN which has some specific memory savings scheme for the Deep Learning Model, specifically this chatbot using LSTM which already integrates by RASA framework. LSTM is also known as Long Short Term Memory which efficiently saves some required memory but will remove some memory that is not needed. This Chatbot uses the FB platform because of the FB users have already reached up to 60.8% of its entire population in Indonesia. Here's the chatbot only focuses on case studies at campus of the Magister Informatics FTI University of Islamic Indonesia. This research is a first stage development within fairly sufficient simulate data.

* 15 pages, 11 figures, prepare for ICITDA conference Batch 3 

LGBTQ-AI? Exploring Expressions of Gender and Sexual Orientation in Chatbots

Jun 03, 2021
Justin Edwards, Leigh Clark, Allison Perrone

Chatbots are popular machine partners for task-oriented and social interactions. Human-human computer-mediated communication research has explored how people express their gender and sexuality in online social interactions, but little is known about whether and in what way chatbots do the same. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 5 text-based conversational agents to explore this topic Through these interviews, we identified 6 common themes around the expression of gender and sexual identity: identity description, identity formation, peer acceptance, positive reflection, uncomfortable feelings and off-topic responses. Chatbots express gender and sexuality explicitly and through relation of experience and emotions, mimicking the human language on which they are trained. It is nevertheless evident that chatbots differ from human dialogue partners as they lack the flexibility and understanding enabled by lived human experience. While chatbots are proficient in using language to express identity, they also display a lack of authentic experiences of gender and sexuality.