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The Dialog State Tracking Challenge Series

AI Magazine

In spoken dialog systems, dialog state tracking refers to the task of correctly inferring the user's goal at a given turn, given all of the dialog history up to that turn. The Dialog State Tracking Challenge is a research community challenge task that has run for three rounds. The challenge has given rise to a host of new methods for dialog state tracking, and also deeper understandings about the problem itself, including methods for evaluation.


Towards a Grounded Dialog Model for Explainable Artificial Intelligence

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

To generate trust with their users, Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) systems need to include an explanation model that can communicate the internal decisions, behaviours and actions to the interacting humans. Successful explanation involves both cognitive and social processes. In this paper we focus on the challenge of meaningful interaction between an explainer and an explainee and investigate the structural aspects of an explanation in order to propose a human explanation dialog model. We follow a bottom-up approach to derive the model by analysing transcripts of 398 different explanation dialog types. We use grounded theory to code and identify key components of which an explanation dialog consists. We carry out further analysis to identify the relationships between components and sequences and cycles that occur in a dialog. We present a generalized state model obtained by the analysis and compare it with an existing conceptual dialog model of explanation.


Reasoning Visual Dialogs with Structural and Partial Observations

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

We propose a novel model to address the task of Visual Dialog which exhibits complex dialog structures. To obtain a reasonable answer based on the current question and the dialog history, the underlying semantic dependencies between dialog entities are essential. In this paper, we explicitly formalize this task as inference in a graphical model with partially observed nodes and unknown graph structures (relations in dialog). The given dialog entities are viewed as the observed nodes. The answer to a given question is represented by a node with missing value. We first introduce an Expectation Maximization algorithm to infer both the underlying dialog structures and the missing node values (desired answers). Based on this, we proceed to propose a differentiable graph neural network (GNN) solution that approximates this process. Experiment results on the VisDial and VisDial-Q datasets show that our model outperforms comparative methods. It is also observed that our method can infer the underlying dialog structure for better dialog reasoning.


Building Task-Oriented Visual Dialog Systems Through Alternative Optimization Between Dialog Policy and Language Generation

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Reinforcement learning (RL) is an effective approach to learn an optimal dialog policy for task-oriented visual dialog systems. A common practice is to apply RL on a neural sequence-to-sequence (seq2seq) framework with the action space being the output vocabulary in the decoder. However, it is difficult to design a reward function that can achieve a balance between learning an effective policy and generating a natural dialog response. This paper proposes a novel framework that alternatively trains a RL policy for image guessing and a supervised seq2seq model to improve dialog generation quality. We evaluate our framework on the GuessWhich task and the framework achieves the state-of-the-art performance in both task completion and dialog quality.


Conversation Learner -- A Machine Teaching Tool for Building Dialog Managers for Task-Oriented Dialog Systems

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Traditionally, industry solutions for building a task-oriented dialog system have relied on helping dialog authors define rule-based dialog managers, represented as dialog flows. While dialog flows are intuitively interpretable and good for simple scenarios, they fall short of performance in terms of the flexibility needed to handle complex dialogs. On the other hand, purely machine-learned models can handle complex dialogs, but they are considered to be black boxes and require large amounts of training data. In this demonstration, we showcase Conversation Learner, a machine teaching tool for building dialog managers. It combines the best of both approaches by enabling dialog authors to create a dialog flow using familiar tools, converting the dialog flow into a parametric model (e.g., neural networks), and allowing dialog authors to improve the dialog manager (i.e., the parametric model) over time by leveraging user-system dialog logs as training data through a machine teaching interface.