Niklas Rach


From Argument Search to Argumentative Dialogue: A Topic-independent Approach to Argument Acquisition for Dialogue Systems
Niklas Rach | Carolin Schindler | Isabel Feustel | Johannes Daxenberger | Wolfgang Minker | Stefan Ultes
Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

Despite the remarkable progress in the field of computational argumentation, dialogue systems concerned with argumentative tasks often rely on structured knowledge about arguments and their relations. Since the manual acquisition of these argument structures is highly time-consuming, the corresponding systems are inflexible regarding the topics they can discuss. To address this issue, we propose a combination of argumentative dialogue systems with argument search technology that enables a system to discuss any topic on which the search engine is able to find suitable arguments. Our approach utilizes supervised learning-based relation classification to map the retrieved arguments into a general tree structure for use in dialogue systems. We evaluate the approach with a state of the art search engine and a recently introduced dialogue model in an extensive user study with respect to the dialogue coherence. The results vary between the investigated topics (and hence depend on the quality of the underlying data) but are in some instances surprisingly close to the results achieved with a manually annotated argument structure.


Evaluation of Argument Search Approaches in the Context of Argumentative Dialogue Systems
Niklas Rach | Yuki Matsuda | Johannes Daxenberger | Stefan Ultes | Keiichi Yasumoto | Wolfgang Minker
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

We present an approach to evaluate argument search techniques in view of their use in argumentative dialogue systems by assessing quality aspects of the retrieved arguments. To this end, we introduce a dialogue system that presents arguments by means of a virtual avatar and synthetic speech to users and allows them to rate the presented content in four different categories (Interesting, Convincing, Comprehensible, Relation). The approach is applied in a user study in order to compare two state of the art argument search engines to each other and with a system based on traditional web search. The results show a significant advantage of the two search engines over the baseline. Moreover, the two search engines show significant advantages over each other in different categories, thereby reflecting strengths and weaknesses of the different underlying techniques.


On the Vector Representation of Utterances in Dialogue Context
Louisa Pragst | Niklas Rach | Wolfgang Minker | Stefan Ultes
Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2018)


Interaction Quality Estimation Using Long Short-Term Memories
Niklas Rach | Wolfgang Minker | Stefan Ultes
Proceedings of the 18th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue

For estimating the Interaction Quality (IQ) in Spoken Dialogue Systems (SDS), the dialogue history is of significant importance. Previous works included this information manually in the form of precomputed temporal features into the classification process. Here, we employ a deep learning architecture based on Long Short-Term Memories (LSTM) to extract this information automatically from the data, thus estimating IQ solely by using current exchange features. We show that it is thereby possible to achieve competitive results as in a scenario where manually optimized temporal features have been included.