Yu Li


The CRECIL Corpus: a New Dataset for Extraction of Relations between Characters in Chinese Multi-party Dialogues
Yuru Jiang | Yang Xu | Yuhang Zhan | Weikai He | Yilin Wang | Zixuan Xi | Meiyun Wang | Xinyu Li | Yu Li | Yanchao Yu
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

We describe a new freely available Chinese multi-party dialogue dataset for automatic extraction of dialogue-based character relationships. The data has been extracted from the original TV scripts of a Chinese sitcom called “I Love My Home” with complex family-based human daily spoken conversations in Chinese. First, we introduced human annotation scheme for both global Character relationship map and character reference relationship. And then we generated the dialogue-based character relationship triples. The corpus annotates relationships between 140 entities in total. We also carried out a data exploration experiment by deploying a BERT-based model to extract character relationships on the CRECIL corpus and another existing relation extraction corpus (DialogRE (CITATION)).The results demonstrate that extracting character relationships is more challenging in CRECIL than in DialogRE.

Knowledge-Grounded Dialogue Generation with a Unified Knowledge Representation
Yu Li | Baolin Peng | Yelong Shen | Yi Mao | Lars Liden | Zhou Yu | Jianfeng Gao
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Knowledge-grounded dialogue systems are challenging to build due to the lack of training data and heterogeneous knowledge sources. Existing systems perform poorly on unseen topics due to limited topics covered in the training data. In addition, it is challenging to generalize to the domains that require different types of knowledge sources. To address the above challenges, we present PLUG, a language model that homogenizes different knowledge sources to a unified knowledge representation for knowledge-grounded dialogue generation tasks. We first retrieve relevant information from heterogeneous knowledge sources (e.g., wiki, dictionary, or knowledge graph); Then the retrieved knowledge is transformed into text and concatenated with dialogue history to feed into the language model for generating responses. PLUG is pre-trained on a large-scale knowledge-grounded dialogue corpus. The empirical evaluation on two benchmarks shows that PLUG generalizes well across different knowledge-grounded dialogue tasks. It achieves comparable performance with state-of-the-art methods in the fully-supervised setting and significantly outperforms other approaches in zero-shot and few-shot settings.

Improving Conversational Recommendation Systems’ Quality with Context-Aware Item Meta-Information
Bowen Yang | Cong Han | Yu Li | Lei Zuo | Zhou Yu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

A key challenge of Conversational Recommendation Systems (CRS) is to integrate the recommendation function and the dialog generation function smoothly. Previous works employ graph neural networks with external knowledge graphs (KG) to model individual recommendation items and integrate KGs with language models through attention mechanism for response generation. Although previous approaches prove effective, there is still room for improvement. For example, KG-based approaches only rely on entity relations and bag-of-words to recommend items and neglect the information in the conversational context. We propose to improve the usage of dialog context for both recommendation and response generation using an encoding architecture along with the self-attention mechanism of transformers. In this paper, we propose a simple yet effective architecture comprising a pre-trained language model (PLM) and an item metadata encoder to integrate the recommendation and the dialog generation better. The proposed item encoder learns to map item metadata to embeddings reflecting the rich information of the item, which can be matched with dialog context. The PLM then consumes the context-aware item embeddings and dialog context to generate high-quality recommendations and responses. Experimental results on the benchmark dataset ReDial show that our model obtains state-of-the-art results on both recommendation and response generation tasks.

Robots-Dont-Cry: Understanding Falsely Anthropomorphic Utterances in Dialog Systems
David Gros | Yu Li | Zhou Yu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Dialog systems are often designed or trained to output human-like responses. However, some responses may be impossible for a machine to truthfully say (e.g. “that movie made me cry”). Highly anthropomorphic responses might make users uncomfortable or implicitly deceive them into thinking they are interacting with a human. We collect human ratings on the feasibility of approximately 900 two-turn dialogs sampled from 9 diverse data sources. Ratings are for two hypothetical machine embodiments: a futuristic humanoid robot and a digital assistant. We find that for some data-sources commonly used to train dialog systems, 20-30% of utterances are not viewed as possible for a machine. Rating is marginally affected by machine embodiment. We explore qualitative and quantitative reasons for these ratings. Finally, we build classifiers and explore how modeling configuration might affect output permissibly, and discuss implications for building less falsely anthropomorphic dialog systems.

GHAN: Graph-Based Hierarchical Aggregation Network for Text-Video Retrieval
Yahan Yu | Bojie Hu | Yu Li
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Text-video retrieval focuses on two aspects: cross-modality interaction and video-language encoding. Currently, the mainstream approach is to train a joint embedding space for multimodal interactions. However, there are structural and semantic differences between text and video, making this approach challenging for fine-grained understanding. In order to solve this, we propose an end-to-end graph-based hierarchical aggregation network for text-video retrieval according to the hierarchy possessed by text and video. We design a token-level weighted network to refine intra-modality representations and construct a graph-based message passing attention network for global-local alignment across modality. We conduct experiments on the public datasets MSR-VTT-9K, MSR-VTT-7K and MSVD, and achieve Recall@1 of 73.0%, 65.6%, and 64.0% , which is 25.7%, 16.5%, and 14.2% better than the current state-of-the-art model.


Towards Emotional Support Dialog Systems
Siyang Liu | Chujie Zheng | Orianna Demasi | Sahand Sabour | Yu Li | Zhou Yu | Yong Jiang | Minlie Huang
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)

Emotional support is a crucial ability for many conversation scenarios, including social interactions, mental health support, and customer service chats. Following reasonable procedures and using various support skills can help to effectively provide support. However, due to the lack of a well-designed task and corpora of effective emotional support conversations, research on building emotional support into dialog systems remains lacking. In this paper, we define the Emotional Support Conversation (ESC) task and propose an ESC Framework, which is grounded on the Helping Skills Theory. We construct an Emotion Support Conversation dataset (ESConv) with rich annotation (especially support strategy) in a help-seeker and supporter mode. To ensure a corpus of high-quality conversations that provide examples of effective emotional support, we take extensive effort to design training tutorials for supporters and several mechanisms for quality control during data collection. Finally, we evaluate state-of-the-art dialog models with respect to the ability to provide emotional support. Our results show the importance of support strategies in providing effective emotional support and the utility of ESConv in training more emotional support systems.

The R-U-A-Robot Dataset: Helping Avoid Chatbot Deception by Detecting User Questions About Human or Non-Human Identity
David Gros | Yu Li | Zhou Yu
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)

Humans are increasingly interacting with machines through language, sometimes in contexts where the user may not know they are talking to a machine (like over the phone or a text chatbot). We aim to understand how system designers and researchers might allow their systems to confirm its non-human identity. We collect over 2,500 phrasings related to the intent of “Are you a robot?”. This is paired with over 2,500 adversarially selected utterances where only confirming the system is non-human would be insufficient or disfluent. We compare classifiers to recognize the intent and discuss the precision/recall and model complexity tradeoffs. Such classifiers could be integrated into dialog systems to avoid undesired deception. We then explore how both a generative research model (Blender) as well as two deployed systems (Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant) handle this intent, finding that systems often fail to confirm their non-human identity. Finally, we try to understand what a good response to the intent would be, and conduct a user study to compare the important aspects when responding to this intent.

LEGOEval: An Open-Source Toolkit for Dialogue System Evaluation via Crowdsourcing
Yu Li | Josh Arnold | Feifan Yan | Weiyan Shi | Zhou Yu
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: System Demonstrations

We present LEGOEval, an open-source toolkit that enables researchers to easily evaluate dialogue systems in a few lines of code using the online crowdsource platform, Amazon Mechanical Turk. Compared to existing toolkits, LEGOEval features a flexible task design by providing a Python API that maps to commonly used React.js interface components. Researchers can personalize their evaluation procedures easily with our built-in pages as if playing with LEGO blocks. Thus, LEGOEval provides a fast, consistent method for reproducing human evaluation results. Besides the flexible task design, LEGOEval also offers an easy API to review collected data.

Alternating Recurrent Dialog Model with Large-scale Pre-trained Language Models
Qingyang Wu | Yichi Zhang | Yu Li | Zhou Yu
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Existing dialog system models require extensive human annotations and are difficult to generalize to different tasks. The recent success of large pre-trained language models such as BERT and GPT-2 (Devlin et al., 2019; Radford et al., 2019) have suggested the effectiveness of incorporating language priors in down-stream NLP tasks. However, how much pre-trained language models can help dialog response generation is still under exploration. In this paper, we propose a simple, general, and effective framework: Alternating Recurrent Dialog Model (ARDM). ARDM models each speaker separately and takes advantage of the large pre-trained language model. It requires no supervision from human annotations such as belief states or dialog acts to achieve effective conversations. ARDM outperforms or is on par with state-of-the-art methods on two popular task-oriented dialog datasets: CamRest676 and MultiWOZ. Moreover, we can generalize ARDM to more challenging, non-collaborative tasks such as persuasion. In persuasion tasks, ARDM is capable of generating human-like responses to persuade people to donate to a charity.

CLiMP: A Benchmark for Chinese Language Model Evaluation
Beilei Xiang | Changbing Yang | Yu Li | Alex Warstadt | Katharina Kann
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Linguistically informed analyses of language models (LMs) contribute to the understanding and improvement of such models. Here, we introduce the corpus of Chinese linguistic minimal pairs (CLiMP) to investigate what knowledge Chinese LMs acquire. CLiMP consists of sets of 1000 minimal pairs (MPs) for 16 syntactic contrasts in Chinese, covering 9 major Chinese linguistic phenomena. The MPs are semi-automatically generated, and human agreement with the labels in CLiMP is 95.8%. We evaluate 11 different LMs on CLiMP, covering n-grams, LSTMs, and Chinese BERT. We find that classifier–noun agreement and verb complement selection are the phenomena that models generally perform best at. However, models struggle the most with the ba construction, binding, and filler-gap dependencies. Overall, Chinese BERT achieves an 81.8% average accuracy, while the performances of LSTMs and 5-grams are only moderately above chance level.

Refine and Imitate: Reducing Repetition and Inconsistency in Persuasion Dialogues via Reinforcement Learning and Human Demonstration
Weiyan Shi | Yu Li | Saurav Sahay | Zhou Yu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Persuasion dialogue system reflects the machine’s ability to make strategic moves beyond verbal communication, and therefore differentiates itself from task-oriented or open-domain dialogues and has its own unique values. However, the repetition and inconsistency problems still persist in dialogue response generation and could substantially impact user experience and impede the persuasion outcome. Besides, although reinforcement learning (RL) approaches have achieved big success in strategic tasks such as games, it requires a sophisticated user simulator to provide real-time feedback to the dialogue system, which limits the application of RL on persuasion dialogues. To address these issues towards a better persuasion dialogue system, we apply RL to refine a language model baseline without user simulators, and distill sentence-level information about repetition, inconsistency, and task relevance through rewards. Moreover, to better accomplish the persuasion task, the model learns from human demonstration to imitate human persuasion behavior and selects the most persuasive responses. Experiments show that our model outperforms previous state-of-the-art dialogue models on both automatic metrics and human evaluation results on a donation persuasion task, and generates more diverse, consistent and persuasive conversations according to the user feedback. We will make the code and model publicly available.

FLiText: A Faster and Lighter Semi-Supervised Text Classification with Convolution Networks
Chen Liu | Zhang Mengchao | Fu Zhibing | Panpan Hou | Yu Li
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

In natural language processing (NLP), state-of-the-art (SOTA) semi-supervised learning (SSL) frameworks have shown great performance on deep pre-trained language models such as BERT, and are expected to significantly reduce the demand for manual labeling. However, our empirical studies indicate that these frameworks are not suitable for lightweight models such as TextCNN, LSTM and etc. In this work, we develop a new SSL framework called FLiText, which stands for Faster and Lighter semi-supervised Text classification. FLiText introduces an inspirer network together with the consistency regularization framework, which leverages a generalized regular constraint on the lightweight models for efficient SSL. As a result, FLiText obtains new SOTA performance for lightweight models across multiple SSL benchmarks on text classification. Compared with existing SOTA SSL methods on TextCNN, FLiText improves the accuracy of lightweight model TextCNN from 51.00% to 90.49% on IMDb, 39.8% to 58.06% on Yelp-5, and from 55.3% to 65.08% on Yahoo! Answer. In addition, compared with the fully supervised method on the full dataset, FLiText just uses less than 1% of labeled data to improve the accuracy by 6.59%, 3.94%, and 3.22% on the datasets of IMDb, Yelp-5, and Yahoo! Answer respectively.


Interactive Key-Value Memory-augmented Attention for Image Paragraph Captioning
Chunpu Xu | Yu Li | Chengming Li | Xiang Ao | Min Yang | Jinwen Tian
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Image paragraph captioning (IPC) aims to generate a fine-grained paragraph to describe the visual content of an image. Significant progress has been made by deep neural networks, in which the attention mechanism plays an essential role. However, conventional attention mechanisms tend to ignore the past alignment information, which often results in problems of repetitive captioning and incomplete captioning. In this paper, we propose an Interactive key-value Memory- augmented Attention model for image Paragraph captioning (IMAP) to keep track of the attention history (salient objects coverage information) along with the update-chain of the decoder state and therefore avoid generating repetitive or incomplete image descriptions. In addition, we employ an adaptive attention mechanism to realize adaptive alignment from image regions to caption words, where an image region can be mapped to an arbitrary number of caption words while a caption word can also attend to an arbitrary number of image regions. Extensive experiments on a benchmark dataset (i.e., Stanford) demonstrate the effectiveness of our IMAP model.

A Multi-Persona Chatbot for Hotline Counselor Training
Orianna Demasi | Yu Li | Zhou Yu
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Suicide prevention hotline counselors aid individuals during difficult times through millions of calls and chats. A chatbot cannot safely replace a counselor, but we explore whether a chatbot can be developed to help train human counselors. Such a system needs to simulate intimate situations across multiple practice sessions. Open-domain dialogue systems frequently suffer from generic responses that do not characterize personal stories, so we look to infuse conversations with persona information by mimicking prototype conversations. Towards building a “Crisisbot” hotline visitor simulation, we propose a counseling strategy annotation scheme and a multi-task framework that leverages these counselor strategies to retrieve similar examples, generate diverse sub-utterances, and interleave prototype and generated sub-utterances into complex responses. We evaluate this framework with crowdworkers and experienced hotline counselors. The framework considerably increases response diversity and specificity, with limited impact to coherence. Our results also show a considerable discrepancy between crowdworker and counselor judgements, which emphasizes the importance of including target populations in system development and evaluation.

基于层次化语义框架的知识库属性映射方法(Property Mapping in Knowledge Base Under the Hierarchical Semantic Framework)
Yu Li (李豫) | Guangyou Zhou (周光有)
Proceedings of the 19th Chinese National Conference on Computational Linguistics

面向知识库的自动问答是自然语言处理的一项重要任务,它旨在对用户提出的自然语言形式问题给出精炼、准确的回复。目前由于缺少数据集、特征不一致等因素,导致难以使用通用的数据和方法实现领域知识库问答。因此,本文将“问题意图”视作不同领域问答可能存在的共同特征,将“问题”与三元组知识库中“关系谓词”的映射过程作为问答核心工作。为了考虑多种层次的语义避免重要信息的损失,本文分别将“基于门控卷积的深层语义”和“基于交互注意力机制的浅层语义”两个方面通过门控感知机制相融合。我们在NLPCC-ICCPOL 2016 KBQA数据集上的实验表明,本文提出的方法与现有的基于CDSSM和BDSSM相比,效能有明显的提升。此外,本文通过构造天文常识知识库,将问题与关系谓词映射模型移植到特定领域,结合Bi-LSTM-CRF模型构建了天文常识自动问答系统。