Communication is a cooperative effort that requires reaching mutual understanding among the participants. Humans use commonsense reasoning implicitly to produce natural and logically-coherent responses. As a step towards fluid human-AI communication, we study if response generation (RG) models can emulate human reasoning process and use common sense to help produce better-quality responses. We aim to tackle two research questions: how to formalize conversational common sense and how to examine RG models capability to use common sense? We first propose a task, CEDAR: Causal common sEnse in DiAlogue Response generation, that concretizes common sense as textual explanations for what might lead to the response and evaluates RG models behavior by comparing the modeling loss given a valid explanation with an invalid one. Then we introduce a process that automatically generates such explanations and ask humans to verify them. Finally, we design two probing settings for RG models targeting two reasoning capabilities using verified explanations. We find that RG models have a hard time determining the logical validity of explanations but can identify grammatical naturalness of the explanation easily.
Medical Dialogue Generation (MDG) is intended to build a medical dialogue system for intelligent consultation, which can communicate with patients in real-time, thereby improving the efficiency of clinical diagnosis with broad application prospects. This paper presents our proposed framework for the Chinese MDG organized by the 2021 China conference on knowledge graph and semantic computing (CCKS) competition, which requires generating context-consistent and medically meaningful responses conditioned on the dialogue history. In our framework, we propose a pipeline system composed of entity prediction and entity-aware dialogue generation, by adding predicted entities to the dialogue model with a fusion mechanism, thereby utilizing information from different sources. At the decoding stage, we propose a new decoding mechanism named Entity-revised Diverse Beam Search (EDBS) to improve entity correctness and promote the length and quality of the final response. The proposed method wins both the CCKS and the International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) 2021 Workshop Machine Learning for Preventing and Combating Pandemics (MLPCP) Track 1 Entity-aware MED competitions, which demonstrate the practicality and effectiveness of our method.
Dialogue systems pretrained with large language models generate locally coherent responses, but lack the fine-grained control over responses necessary to achieve specific goals. A promising method to control response generation is exemplar-based generation, in which models edit exemplar responses that are retrieved from training data, or hand-written to strategically address discourse-level goals, to fit new dialogue contexts. But, current exemplar-based approaches often excessively copy words from the exemplar responses, leading to incoherent replies. We present an Exemplar-based Dialogue Generation model, EDGE, that uses the semantic frames present in exemplar responses to guide generation. We show that controlling dialogue generation based on the semantic frames of exemplars, rather than words in the exemplar itself, improves the coherence of generated responses, while preserving semantic meaning and conversation goals present in exemplar responses.
Sequence generative adversarial networks (SeqGAN) have been used to improve conditional sequence generation tasks, for example, chit-chat dialogue generation. To stabilize the training of SeqGAN, Monte Carlo tree search (MCTS) or reward at every generation step (REGS) is used to evaluate the goodness of a generated subsequence. MCTS is computationally intensive, but the performance of REGS is worse than MCTS. In this paper, we propose stepwise GAN (StepGAN), in which the discriminator is modified to automatically assign scores quantifying the goodness of each subsequence at every generation step. StepGAN has significantly less computational costs than MCTS. We demonstrate that StepGAN outperforms previous GAN-based methods on both synthetic experiment and chit-chat dialogue generation.
In comparison to the interpretation of classification models, the explanation of sequence generation models is also an important problem, however it has seen little attention. In this work, we study model-agnostic explanations of a representative text generation task -- dialogue response generation. Dialog response generation is challenging with its open-ended sentences and multiple acceptable responses. To gain insights into the reasoning process of a generation model, we propose anew method, local explanation of response generation (LERG) that regards the explanations as the mutual interaction of segments in input and output sentences. LERG views the sequence prediction as uncertainty estimation of a human response and then creates explanations by perturbing the input and calculating the certainty change over the human response. We show that LERG adheres to desired properties of explanations for text generation including unbiased approximation, consistency and cause identification. Empirically, our results show that our method consistently improves other widely used methods on proposed automatic- and human- evaluation metrics for this new task by 4.4-12.8%. Our analysis demonstrates that LERG can extract both explicit and implicit relations between input and output segments.