Abhilasha Ravichander


A Tale of Two Regulatory Regimes: Creation and Analysis of a Bilingual Privacy Policy Corpus
Siddhant Arora | Henry Hosseini | Christine Utz | Vinayshekhar Bannihatti Kumar | Tristan Dhellemmes | Abhilasha Ravichander | Peter Story | Jasmine Mangat | Rex Chen | Martin Degeling | Thomas Norton | Thomas Hupperich | Shomir Wilson | Norman Sadeh
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Over the past decade, researchers have started to explore the use of NLP to develop tools aimed at helping the public, vendors, and regulators analyze disclosures made in privacy policies. With the introduction of new privacy regulations, the language of privacy policies is also evolving, and disclosures made by the same organization are not always the same in different languages, especially when used to communicate with users who fall under different jurisdictions. This work explores the use of language technologies to capture and analyze these differences at scale. We introduce an annotation scheme designed to capture the nuances of two new landmark privacy regulations, namely the EU’s GDPR and California’s CCPA/CPRA. We then introduce the first bilingual corpus of mobile app privacy policies consisting of 64 privacy policies in English (292K words) and 91 privacy policies in German (478K words), respectively with manual annotations for 8K and 19K fine-grained data practices. The annotations are used to develop computational methods that can automatically extract “disclosures” from privacy policies. Analysis of a subset of 59 “semi-parallel” policies reveals differences that can be attributed to different regulatory regimes, suggesting that systematic analysis of policies using automated language technologies is indeed a worthwhile endeavor.

CONDAQA: A Contrastive Reading Comprehension Dataset for Reasoning about Negation
Abhilasha Ravichander | Matt Gardner | Ana Marasovic
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The full power of human language-based communication cannot be realized without negation. All human languages have some form of negation. Despite this, negation remains a challenging phenomenon for current natural language understanding systems. To facilitate the future development of models that can process negation effectively, we present CONDAQA, the first English reading comprehension dataset which requires reasoning about the implications of negated statements in paragraphs. We collect paragraphs with diverse negation cues, then have crowdworkers ask questions about the implications of the negated statement in the passage. We also have workers make three kinds of edits to the passage—paraphrasing the negated statement, changing the scope of the negation, and reversing the negation—resulting in clusters of question-answer pairs that are difficult for models to answer with spurious shortcuts. CONDAQA features 14,182 question-answer pairs with over 200 unique negation cues and is challenging for current state-of-the-art models. The best performing model on CONDAQA (UnifiedQA-v2-3b) achieves only 42% on our consistency metric, well below human performance which is 81%. We release our dataset, along with fully-finetuned, few-shot, and zero-shot evaluations, to facilitate the development of future NLP methods that work on negated language.

CURIE: An Iterative Querying Approach for Reasoning About Situations
Dheeraj Rajagopal | Aman Madaan | Niket Tandon | Yiming Yang | Shrimai Prabhumoye | Abhilasha Ravichander | Peter Clark | Eduard H Hovy
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Commonsense Representation and Reasoning (CSRR 2022)

Predicting the effects of unexpected situations is an important reasoning task, e.g., would cloudy skies help or hinder plant growth? Given a context, the goal of such situational reasoning is to elicit the consequences of a new situation (st) that arises in that context. We propose CURIE, a method to iteratively build a graph of relevant consequences explicitly in a structured situational graph (st graph) using natural language queries over a finetuned language model. Across multiple domains, CURIE generates st graphs that humans find relevant and meaningful in eliciting the consequences of a new situation (75% of the graphs were judged correct by humans). We present a case study of a situation reasoning end task (WIQA-QA), where simply augmenting their input with st graphs improves accuracy by 3 points. We show that these improvements mainly come from a hard subset of the data, that requires background knowledge and multi-hop reasoning.


Measuring and Improving Consistency in Pretrained Language Models
Yanai Elazar | Nora Kassner | Shauli Ravfogel | Abhilasha Ravichander | Eduard Hovy | Hinrich Schütze | Yoav Goldberg
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 9

Abstract Consistency of a model—that is, the invariance of its behavior under meaning-preserving alternations in its input—is a highly desirable property in natural language processing. In this paper we study the question: Are Pretrained Language Models (PLMs) consistent with respect to factual knowledge? To this end, we create ParaRel🤘, a high-quality resource of cloze-style query English paraphrases. It contains a total of 328 paraphrases for 38 relations. Using ParaRel🤘, we show that the consistency of all PLMs we experiment with is poor— though with high variance between relations. Our analysis of the representational spaces of PLMs suggests that they have a poor structure and are currently not suitable for representing knowledge robustly. Finally, we propose a method for improving model consistency and experimentally demonstrate its effectiveness.1

Erratum: Measuring and Improving Consistency in Pretrained Language Models
Yanai Elazar | Nora Kassner | Shauli Ravfogel | Abhilasha Ravichander | Eduard Hovy | Hinrich Schütze | Yoav Goldberg
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 9

Abstract During production of this paper, an error was introduced to the formula on the bottom of the right column of page 1020. In the last two terms of the formula, the n and m subscripts were swapped. The correct formula is:Lc=∑n=1k∑m=n+1kDKL(Qnri∥Qmri)+DKL(Qmri∥Qnri)The paper has been updated.

Breaking Down Walls of Text: How Can NLP Benefit Consumer Privacy?
Abhilasha Ravichander | Alan W Black | Thomas Norton | Shomir Wilson | Norman Sadeh
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Privacy plays a crucial role in preserving democratic ideals and personal autonomy. The dominant legal approach to privacy in many jurisdictions is the “Notice and Choice” paradigm, where privacy policies are the primary instrument used to convey information to users. However, privacy policies are long and complex documents that are difficult for users to read and comprehend. We discuss how language technologies can play an important role in addressing this information gap, reporting on initial progress towards helping three specific categories of stakeholders take advantage of digital privacy policies: consumers, enterprises, and regulators. Our goal is to provide a roadmap for the development and use of language technologies to empower users to reclaim control over their privacy, limit privacy harms, and rally research efforts from the community towards addressing an issue with large social impact. We highlight many remaining opportunities to develop language technologies that are more precise or nuanced in the way in which they use the text of privacy policies.

NoiseQA: Challenge Set Evaluation for User-Centric Question Answering
Abhilasha Ravichander | Siddharth Dalmia | Maria Ryskina | Florian Metze | Eduard Hovy | Alan W Black
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

When Question-Answering (QA) systems are deployed in the real world, users query them through a variety of interfaces, such as speaking to voice assistants, typing questions into a search engine, or even translating questions to languages supported by the QA system. While there has been significant community attention devoted to identifying correct answers in passages assuming a perfectly formed question, we show that components in the pipeline that precede an answering engine can introduce varied and considerable sources of error, and performance can degrade substantially based on these upstream noise sources even for powerful pre-trained QA models. We conclude that there is substantial room for progress before QA systems can be effectively deployed, highlight the need for QA evaluation to expand to consider real-world use, and hope that our findings will spur greater community interest in the issues that arise when our systems actually need to be of utility to humans.

Probing the Probing Paradigm: Does Probing Accuracy Entail Task Relevance?
Abhilasha Ravichander | Yonatan Belinkov | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Although neural models have achieved impressive results on several NLP benchmarks, little is understood about the mechanisms they use to perform language tasks. Thus, much recent attention has been devoted to analyzing the sentence representations learned by neural encoders, through the lens of ‘probing’ tasks. However, to what extent was the information encoded in sentence representations, as discovered through a probe, actually used by the model to perform its task? In this work, we examine this probing paradigm through a case study in Natural Language Inference, showing that models can learn to encode linguistic properties even if they are not needed for the task on which the model was trained. We further identify that pretrained word embeddings play a considerable role in encoding these properties rather than the training task itself, highlighting the importance of careful controls when designing probing experiments. Finally, through a set of controlled synthetic tasks, we demonstrate models can encode these properties considerably above chance-level, even when distributed in the data as random noise, calling into question the interpretation of absolute claims on probing tasks.


Overview and Insights from the Shared Tasks at Scholarly Document Processing 2020: CL-SciSumm, LaySumm and LongSumm
Muthu Kumar Chandrasekaran | Guy Feigenblat | Eduard Hovy | Abhilasha Ravichander | Michal Shmueli-Scheuer | Anita de Waard
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Scholarly Document Processing

We present the results of three Shared Tasks held at the Scholarly Document Processing Workshop at EMNLP2020: CL-SciSumm, LaySumm and LongSumm. We report on each of the tasks, which received 18 submissions in total, with some submissions addressing two or three of the tasks. In summary, the quality and quantity of the submissions show that there is ample interest in scholarly document summarization, and the state of the art in this domain is at a midway point between being an impossible task and one that is fully resolved.

On the Systematicity of Probing Contextualized Word Representations: The Case of Hypernymy in BERT
Abhilasha Ravichander | Eduard Hovy | Kaheer Suleman | Adam Trischler | Jackie Chi Kit Cheung
Proceedings of the Ninth Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics

Contextualized word representations have become a driving force in NLP, motivating widespread interest in understanding their capabilities and the mechanisms by which they operate. Particularly intriguing is their ability to identify and encode conceptual abstractions. Past work has probed BERT representations for this competence, finding that BERT can correctly retrieve noun hypernyms in cloze tasks. In this work, we ask the question: do probing studies shed light on systematic knowledge in BERT representations? As a case study, we examine hypernymy knowledge encoded in BERT representations. In particular, we demonstrate through a simple consistency probe that the ability to correctly retrieve hypernyms in cloze tasks, as used in prior work, does not correspond to systematic knowledge in BERT. Our main conclusion is cautionary: even if BERT demonstrates high probing accuracy for a particular competence, it does not necessarily follow that BERT ‘understands’ a concept, and it cannot be expected to systematically generalize across applicable contexts.


EQUATE: A Benchmark Evaluation Framework for Quantitative Reasoning in Natural Language Inference
Abhilasha Ravichander | Aakanksha Naik | Carolyn Rose | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the 23rd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL)

Quantitative reasoning is a higher-order reasoning skill that any intelligent natural language understanding system can reasonably be expected to handle. We present EQUATE (Evaluating Quantitative Understanding Aptitude in Textual Entailment), a new framework for quantitative reasoning in textual entailment. We benchmark the performance of 9 published NLI models on EQUATE, and find that on average, state-of-the-art methods do not achieve an absolute improvement over a majority-class baseline, suggesting that they do not implicitly learn to reason with quantities. We establish a new baseline Q-REAS that manipulates quantities symbolically. In comparison to the best performing NLI model, it achieves success on numerical reasoning tests (+24.2 %), but has limited verbal reasoning capabilities (-8.1 %). We hope our evaluation framework will support the development of models of quantitative reasoning in language understanding.

Question Answering for Privacy Policies: Combining Computational and Legal Perspectives
Abhilasha Ravichander | Alan W Black | Shomir Wilson | Thomas Norton | Norman Sadeh
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Privacy policies are long and complex documents that are difficult for users to read and understand. Yet, they have legal effects on how user data can be collected, managed and used. Ideally, we would like to empower users to inform themselves about the issues that matter to them, and enable them to selectively explore these issues. We present PrivacyQA, a corpus consisting of 1750 questions about the privacy policies of mobile applications, and over 3500 expert annotations of relevant answers. We observe that a strong neural baseline underperforms human performance by almost 0.3 F1 on PrivacyQA, suggesting considerable room for improvement for future systems. Further, we use this dataset to categorically identify challenges to question answerability, with domain-general implications for any question answering system. The PrivacyQA corpus offers a challenging corpus for question answering, with genuine real world utility.

Exploring Numeracy in Word Embeddings
Aakanksha Naik | Abhilasha Ravichander | Carolyn Rose | Eduard Hovy
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Word embeddings are now pervasive across NLP subfields as the de-facto method of forming text representataions. In this work, we show that existing embedding models are inadequate at constructing representations that capture salient aspects of mathematical meaning for numbers, which is important for language understanding. Numbers are ubiquitous and frequently appear in text. Inspired by cognitive studies on how humans perceive numbers, we develop an analysis framework to test how well word embeddings capture two essential properties of numbers: magnitude (e.g. 3<4) and numeration (e.g. 3=three). Our experiments reveal that most models capture an approximate notion of magnitude, but are inadequate at capturing numeration. We hope that our observations provide a starting point for the development of methods which better capture numeracy in NLP systems.


An Empirical Study of Self-Disclosure in Spoken Dialogue Systems
Abhilasha Ravichander | Alan W. Black
Proceedings of the 19th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue

Self-disclosure is a key social strategy employed in conversation to build relations and increase conversational depth. It has been heavily studied in psychology and linguistic literature, particularly for its ability to induce self-disclosure from the recipient, a phenomena known as reciprocity. However, we know little about how self-disclosure manifests in conversation with automated dialog systems, especially as any self-disclosure on the part of a dialog system is patently disingenuous. In this work, we run a large-scale quantitative analysis on the effect of self-disclosure by analyzing interactions between real-world users and a spoken dialog system in the context of social conversation. We find that indicators of reciprocity occur even in human-machine dialog, with far-reaching implications for chatbots in a variety of domains including education, negotiation and social dialog.

Stress Test Evaluation for Natural Language Inference
Aakanksha Naik | Abhilasha Ravichander | Norman Sadeh | Carolyn Rose | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Natural language inference (NLI) is the task of determining if a natural language hypothesis can be inferred from a given premise in a justifiable manner. NLI was proposed as a benchmark task for natural language understanding. Existing models perform well at standard datasets for NLI, achieving impressive results across different genres of text. However, the extent to which these models understand the semantic content of sentences is unclear. In this work, we propose an evaluation methodology consisting of automatically constructed “stress tests” that allow us to examine whether systems have the ability to make real inferential decisions. Our evaluation of six sentence-encoder models on these stress tests reveals strengths and weaknesses of these models with respect to challenging linguistic phenomena, and suggests important directions for future work in this area.


Does the Geometry of Word Embeddings Help Document Classification? A Case Study on Persistent Homology-Based Representations
Paul Michel | Abhilasha Ravichander | Shruti Rijhwani
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP

We investigate the pertinence of methods from algebraic topology for text data analysis. These methods enable the development of mathematically-principled isometric-invariant mappings from a set of vectors to a document embedding, which is stable with respect to the geometry of the document in the selected metric space. In this work, we evaluate the utility of these topology-based document representations in traditional NLP tasks, specifically document clustering and sentiment classification. We find that the embeddings do not benefit text analysis. In fact, performance is worse than simple techniques like tf-idf, indicating that the geometry of the document does not provide enough variability for classification on the basis of topic or sentiment in the chosen datasets.

How Would You Say It? Eliciting Lexically Diverse Dialogue for Supervised Semantic Parsing
Abhilasha Ravichander | Thomas Manzini | Matthias Grabmair | Graham Neubig | Jonathan Francis | Eric Nyberg
Proceedings of the 18th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue

Building dialogue interfaces for real-world scenarios often entails training semantic parsers starting from zero examples. How can we build datasets that better capture the variety of ways users might phrase their queries, and what queries are actually realistic? Wang et al. (2015) proposed a method to build semantic parsing datasets by generating canonical utterances using a grammar and having crowdworkers paraphrase them into natural wording. A limitation of this approach is that it induces bias towards using similar language as the canonical utterances. In this work, we present a methodology that elicits meaningful and lexically diverse queries from users for semantic parsing tasks. Starting from a seed lexicon and a generative grammar, we pair logical forms with mixed text-image representations and ask crowdworkers to paraphrase and confirm the plausibility of the queries that they generated. We use this method to build a semantic parsing dataset from scratch for a dialog agent in a smart-home simulation. We find evidence that this dataset, which we have named SmartHome, is demonstrably more lexically diverse and difficult to parse than existing domain-specific semantic parsing datasets.