Existing research on response generation for chatbot focuses on \textbf{First Response Generation} which aims to teach the chatbot to say the first response (e.g. a sentence) appropriate to the conversation context (e.g. the user's query). In this paper, we introduce a new task \textbf{Second Response Generation}, termed as Improv chat, which aims to teach the chatbot to say the second response after saying the first response with respect the conversation context, so as to lighten the burden on the user to keep the conversation going. Specifically, we propose a general learning based framework and develop a retrieval based system which can generate the second responses with the users' query and the chatbot's first response as input. We present the approach to building the conversation corpus for Improv chat from public forums and social networks, as well as the neural networks based models for response matching and ranking. We include the preliminary experiments and results in this paper. This work could be further advanced with better deep matching models for retrieval base systems or generative models for generation based systems as well as extensive evaluations in real-life applications.

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Chatbot,聊天机器人。 chatbot是场交互革命,也是一个多技术融合的平台。上图给出了构建一个chatbot需要具备的组件,简单地说chatbot = NLU(Natural Language Understanding) + NLG(Natural Language Generation)。

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We present a large, tunable neural conversational response generation model, DialoGPT (dialogue generative pre-trained transformer). Trained on 147M conversation-like exchanges extracted from Reddit comment chains over a period spanning from 2005 through 2017, DialoGPT extends the Hugging Face PyTorch transformer to attain a performance close to human both in terms of automatic and human evaluation in single-turn dialogue settings. We show that conversational systems that leverage DialoGPT generate more relevant, contentful and context-consistent responses than strong baseline systems. The pre-trained model and training pipeline are publicly released to facilitate research into neural response generation and the development of more intelligent open-domain dialogue systems.

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Task-oriented dialog presents a difficult challenge encompassing multiple problems including multi-turn language understanding and generation, knowledge retrieval and reasoning, and action prediction. Modern dialog systems typically begin by converting conversation history to a symbolic object referred to as belief state by using supervised learning. The belief state is then used to reason on an external knowledge source whose result along with the conversation history is used in action prediction and response generation tasks independently. Such a pipeline of individually optimized components not only makes the development process cumbersome but also makes it non-trivial to leverage session-level user reinforcement signals. In this paper, we develop Neural Assistant: a single neural network model that takes conversation history and an external knowledge source as input and jointly produces both text response and action to be taken by the system as output. The model learns to reason on the provided knowledge source with weak supervision signal coming from the text generation and the action prediction tasks, hence removing the need for belief state annotations. In the MultiWOZ dataset, we study the effect of distant supervision, and the size of knowledge base on model performance. We find that the Neural Assistant without belief states is able to incorporate external knowledge information achieving higher factual accuracy scores compared to Transformer. In settings comparable to reported baseline systems, Neural Assistant when provided with oracle belief state significantly improves language generation performance.

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Text to Image Synthesis refers to the process of automatic generation of a photo-realistic image starting from a given text and is revolutionizing many real-world applications. In order to perform such process it is necessary to exploit datasets containing captioned images, meaning that each image is associated with one (or more) captions describing it. Despite the abundance of uncaptioned images datasets, the number of captioned datasets is limited. To address this issue, in this paper we propose an approach capable of generating images starting from a given text using conditional GANs trained on uncaptioned images dataset. In particular, uncaptioned images are fed to an Image Captioning Module to generate the descriptions. Then, the GAN Module is trained on both the input image and the machine-generated caption. To evaluate the results, the performance of our solution is compared with the results obtained by the unconditional GAN. For the experiments, we chose to use the uncaptioned dataset LSUN bedroom. The results obtained in our study are preliminary but still promising.

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We study open domain response generation with limited message-response pairs. The problem exists in real-world applications but is less explored by the existing work. Since the paired data now is no longer enough to train a neural generation model, we consider leveraging the large scale of unpaired data that are much easier to obtain, and propose response generation with both paired and unpaired data. The generation model is defined by an encoder-decoder architecture with templates as prior, where the templates are estimated from the unpaired data as a neural hidden semi-markov model. By this means, response generation learned from the small paired data can be aided by the semantic and syntactic knowledge in the large unpaired data. To balance the effect of the prior and the input message to response generation, we propose learning the whole generation model with an adversarial approach. Empirical studies on question response generation and sentiment response generation indicate that when only a few pairs are available, our model can significantly outperform several state-of-the-art response generation models in terms of both automatic and human evaluation.

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We present open domain response generation with meta-words. A meta-word is a structured record that describes various attributes of a response, and thus allows us to explicitly model the one-to-many relationship within open domain dialogues and perform response generation in an explainable and controllable manner. To incorporate meta-words into generation, we enhance the sequence-to-sequence architecture with a goal tracking memory network that formalizes meta-word expression as a goal and manages the generation process to achieve the goal with a state memory panel and a state controller. Experimental results on two large-scale datasets indicate that our model can significantly outperform several state-of-the-art generation models in terms of response relevance, response diversity, accuracy of one-to-many modeling, accuracy of meta-word expression, and human evaluation.

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We propose a novel conditioned text generation model. It draws inspiration from traditional template-based text generation techniques, where the source provides the content (i.e., what to say), and the template influences how to say it. Building on the successful encoder-decoder paradigm, it first encodes the content representation from the given input text; to produce the output, it retrieves exemplar text from the training data as "soft templates," which are then used to construct an exemplar-specific decoder. We evaluate the proposed model on abstractive text summarization and data-to-text generation. Empirical results show that this model achieves strong performance and outperforms comparable baselines.

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Neural question generation (NQG) is the task of generating a question from a given passage with deep neural networks. Previous NQG models suffer from a problem that a significant proportion of the generated questions include words in the question target, resulting in the generation of unintended questions. In this paper, we propose answer-separated seq2seq, which better utilizes the information from both the passage and the target answer. By replacing the target answer in the original passage with a special token, our model learns to identify which interrogative word should be used. We also propose a new module termed keyword-net, which helps the model better capture the key information in the target answer and generate an appropriate question. Experimental results demonstrate that our answer separation method significantly reduces the number of improper questions which include answers. Consequently, our model significantly outperforms previous state-of-the-art NQG models.

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We propose a method that can leverage unlabeled data to learn a matching model for response selection in retrieval-based chatbots. The method employs a sequence-to-sequence architecture (Seq2Seq) model as a weak annotator to judge the matching degree of unlabeled pairs, and then performs learning with both the weak signals and the unlabeled data. Experimental results on two public data sets indicate that matching models get significant improvements when they are learned with the proposed method.

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Information extraction and user intention identification are central topics in modern query understanding and recommendation systems. In this paper, we propose DeepProbe, a generic information-directed interaction framework which is built around an attention-based sequence to sequence (seq2seq) recurrent neural network. DeepProbe can rephrase, evaluate, and even actively ask questions, leveraging the generative ability and likelihood estimation made possible by seq2seq models. DeepProbe makes decisions based on a derived uncertainty (entropy) measure conditioned on user inputs, possibly with multiple rounds of interactions. Three applications, namely a rewritter, a relevance scorer and a chatbot for ad recommendation, were built around DeepProbe, with the first two serving as precursory building blocks for the third. We first use the seq2seq model in DeepProbe to rewrite a user query into one of standard query form, which is submitted to an ordinary recommendation system. Secondly, we evaluate DeepProbe's seq2seq model-based relevance scoring. Finally, we build a chatbot prototype capable of making active user interactions, which can ask questions that maximize information gain, allowing for a more efficient user intention idenfication process. We evaluate first two applications by 1) comparing with baselines by BLEU and AUC, and 2) human judge evaluation. Both demonstrate significant improvements compared with current state-of-the-art systems, proving their values as useful tools on their own, and at the same time laying a good foundation for the ongoing chatbot application.

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We study response generation for open domain conversation in chatbots. Existing methods assume that words in responses are generated from an identical vocabulary regardless of their inputs, which not only makes them vulnerable to generic patterns and irrelevant noise, but also causes a high cost in decoding. We propose a dynamic vocabulary sequence-to-sequence (DVS2S) model which allows each input to possess their own vocabulary in decoding. In training, vocabulary construction and response generation are jointly learned by maximizing a lower bound of the true objective with a Monte Carlo sampling method. In inference, the model dynamically allocates a small vocabulary for an input with the word prediction model, and conducts decoding only with the small vocabulary. Because of the dynamic vocabulary mechanism, DVS2S eludes many generic patterns and irrelevant words in generation, and enjoys efficient decoding at the same time. Experimental results on both automatic metrics and human annotations show that DVS2S can significantly outperform state-of-the-art methods in terms of response quality, but only requires 60% decoding time compared to the most efficient baseline.

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