Brodie Mather


From Stance to Concern: Adaptation of Propositional Analysis to New Tasks and Domains
Brodie Mather | Bonnie Dorr | Adam Dalton | William de Beaumont | Owen Rambow | Sonja Schmer-Galunder
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

We present a generalized paradigm for adaptation of propositional analysis (predicate-argument pairs) to new tasks and domains. We leverage an analogy between stances (belief-driven sentiment) and concerns (topical issues with moral dimensions/endorsements) to produce an explanatory representation. A key contribution is the combination of semi-automatic resource building for extraction of domain-dependent concern types (with 2-4 hours of human labor per domain) and an entirely automatic procedure for extraction of domain-independent moral dimensions and endorsement values. Prudent (automatic) selection of terms from propositional structures for lexical expansion (via semantic similarity) produces new moral dimension lexicons at three levels of granularity beyond a strong baseline lexicon. We develop a ground truth (GT) based on expert annotators and compare our concern detection output to GT, to yield 231% improvement in recall over baseline, with only a 10% loss in precision. F1 yields 66% improvement over baseline and 97.8% of human performance. Our lexically based approach yields large savings over approaches that employ costly human labor and model building. We provide to the community a newly expanded moral dimension/value lexicon, annotation guidelines, and GT.


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Active Defense Against Social Engineering: The Case for Human Language Technology
Adam Dalton | Ehsan Aghaei | Ehab Al-Shaer | Archna Bhatia | Esteban Castillo | Zhuo Cheng | Sreekar Dhaduvai | Qi Duan | Bryanna Hebenstreit | Md Mazharul Islam | Younes Karimi | Amir Masoumzadeh | Brodie Mather | Sashank Santhanam | Samira Shaikh | Alan Zemel | Tomek Strzalkowski | Bonnie J. Dorr
Proceedings for the First International Workshop on Social Threats in Online Conversations: Understanding and Management

We describe a system that supports natural language processing (NLP) components for active defenses against social engineering attacks. We deploy a pipeline of human language technology, including Ask and Framing Detection, Named Entity Recognition, Dialogue Engineering, and Stylometry. The system processes modern message formats through a plug-in architecture to accommodate innovative approaches for message analysis, knowledge representation and dialogue generation. The novelty of the system is that it uses NLP for cyber defense and engages the attacker using bots to elicit evidence to attribute to the attacker and to waste the attacker’s time and resources.

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Adaptation of a Lexical Organization for Social Engineering Detection and Response Generation
Archna Bhatia | Adam Dalton | Brodie Mather | Sashank Santhanam | Samira Shaikh | Alan Zemel | Tomek Strzalkowski | Bonnie J. Dorr
Proceedings for the First International Workshop on Social Threats in Online Conversations: Understanding and Management

We present a paradigm for extensible lexicon development based on Lexical Conceptual Structure to support social engineering detection and response generation. We leverage the central notions of ask (elicitation of behaviors such as providing access to money) and framing (risk/reward implied by the ask). We demonstrate improvements in ask/framing detection through refinements to our lexical organization and show that response generation qualitatively improves as ask/framing detection performance improves. The paradigm presents a systematic and efficient approach to resource adaptation for improved task-specific performance.

Learning to Plan and Realize Separately for Open-Ended Dialogue Systems
Sashank Santhanam | Zhuo Cheng | Brodie Mather | Bonnie Dorr | Archna Bhatia | Bryanna Hebenstreit | Alan Zemel | Adam Dalton | Tomek Strzalkowski | Samira Shaikh
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Achieving true human-like ability to conduct a conversation remains an elusive goal for open-ended dialogue systems. We posit this is because extant approaches towards natural language generation (NLG) are typically construed as end-to-end architectures that do not adequately model human generation processes. To investigate, we decouple generation into two separate phases: planning and realization. In the planning phase, we train two planners to generate plans for response utterances. The realization phase uses response plans to produce an appropriate response. Through rigorous evaluations, both automated and human, we demonstrate that decoupling the process into planning and realization performs better than an end-to-end approach.