Emily Allaway


2022

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SafeText: A Benchmark for Exploring Physical Safety in Language Models
Sharon Levy | Emily Allaway | Melanie Subbiah | Lydia Chilton | Desmond Patton | Kathleen McKeown | William Yang Wang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Understanding what constitutes safe text is an important issue in natural language processing and can often prevent the deployment of models deemed harmful and unsafe. One such type of safety that has been scarcely studied is commonsense physical safety, i.e. text that is not explicitly violent and requires additional commonsense knowledge to comprehend that it leads to physical harm. We create the first benchmark dataset, SafeText, comprising real-life scenarios with paired safe and physically unsafe pieces of advice. We utilize SafeText to empirically study commonsense physical safety across various models designed for text generation and commonsense reasoning tasks. We find that state-of-the-art large language models are susceptible to the generation of unsafe text and have difficulty rejecting unsafe advice. As a result, we argue for further studies of safety and the assessment of commonsense physical safety in models before release.

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Mapping the Multilingual Margins: Intersectional Biases of Sentiment Analysis Systems in English, Spanish, and Arabic
António Câmara | Nina Taneja | Tamjeed Azad | Emily Allaway | Richard Zemel
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Language Technology for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

As natural language processing systems become more widespread, it is necessary to address fairness issues in their implementation and deployment to ensure that their negative impacts on society are understood and minimized. However, there is limited work that studies fairness using a multilingual and intersectional framework or on downstream tasks. In this paper, we introduce four multilingual Equity Evaluation Corpora, supplementary test sets designed to measure social biases, and a novel statistical framework for studying unisectional and intersectional social biases in natural language processing. We use these tools to measure gender, racial, ethnic, and intersectional social biases across five models trained on emotion regression tasks in English, Spanish, and Arabic. We find that many systems demonstrate statistically significant unisectional and intersectional social biases. We make our code and datasets available for download.

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Seeded Hierarchical Clustering for Expert-Crafted Taxonomies
Anish Saha | Amith Ananthram | Emily Allaway | Heng Ji | Kathleen McKeown
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Practitioners from many disciplines (e.g., political science) use expert-crafted taxonomies to make sense of large, unlabeled corpora. In this work, we study Seeded Hierarchical Clustering (SHC): the task of automatically fitting unlabeled data to such taxonomies using a small set of labeled examples. We propose HierSeed, a novel weakly supervised algorithm for this task that uses only a small set of labeled seed examples in a computation and data efficient manner. HierSeed assigns documents to topics by weighing document density against topic hierarchical structure. It outperforms unsupervised and supervised baselines for the SHC task on three real-world datasets.

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Mitigating Covertly Unsafe Text within Natural Language Systems
Alex Mei | Anisha Kabir | Sharon Levy | Melanie Subbiah | Emily Allaway | John Judge | Desmond Patton | Bruce Bimber | Kathleen McKeown | William Yang Wang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

An increasingly prevalent problem for intelligent technologies is text safety, as uncontrolled systems may generate recommendations to their users that lead to injury or life-threatening consequences. However, the degree of explicitness of a generated statement that can cause physical harm varies. In this paper, we distinguish types of text that can lead to physical harm and establish one particularly underexplored category: covertly unsafe text. Then, we further break down this category with respect to the system’s information and discuss solutions to mitigate the generation of text in each of these subcategories. Ultimately, our work defines the problem of covertly unsafe language that causes physical harm and argues that this subtle yet dangerous issue needs to be prioritized by stakeholders and regulators. We highlight mitigation strategies to inspire future researchers to tackle this challenging problem and help improve safety within smart systems.

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Legal and Political Stance Detection of SCOTUS Language
Noah Bergam | Emily Allaway | Kathleen Mckeown
Proceedings of the Natural Legal Language Processing Workshop 2022

We analyze publicly available US Supreme Court documents using automated stance detection. In the first phase of our work, we investigate the extent to which the Court’s public-facing language is political. We propose and calculate two distinct ideology metrics of SCOTUS justices using oral argument transcripts. We then compare these language-based metrics to existing social scientific measures of the ideology of the Supreme Court and the public. Through this cross-disciplinary analysis, we find that justices who are more responsive to public opinion tend to express their ideology during oral arguments. This observation provides a new kind of evidence in favor of the attitudinal change hypothesis of Supreme Court justice behavior. As a natural extension of this political stance detection, we propose the more specialized task of legal stance detection with our new dataset SC-stance, which matches written opinions to legal questions. We find competitive performance on this dataset using language adapters trained on legal documents.

2021

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Adversarial Learning for Zero-Shot Stance Detection on Social Media
Emily Allaway | Malavika Srikanth | Kathleen McKeown
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Stance detection on social media can help to identify and understand slanted news or commentary in everyday life. In this work, we propose a new model for zero-shot stance detection on Twitter that uses adversarial learning to generalize across topics. Our model achieves state-of-the-art performance on a number of unseen test topics with minimal computational costs. In addition, we extend zero-shot stance detection to topics not previously considered, highlighting future directions for zero-shot transfer.

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A Unified Feature Representation for Lexical Connotations
Emily Allaway | Kathleen McKeown
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Ideological attitudes and stance are often expressed through subtle meanings of words and phrases. Understanding these connotations is critical to recognizing the cultural and emotional perspectives of the speaker. In this paper, we use distant labeling to create a new lexical resource representing connotation aspects for nouns and adjectives. Our analysis shows that it aligns well with human judgments. Additionally, we present a method for creating lexical representations that capture connotations within the embedding space and show that using the embeddings provides a statistically significant improvement on the task of stance detection when data is limited.

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Sequential Cross-Document Coreference Resolution
Emily Allaway | Shuai Wang | Miguel Ballesteros
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Relating entities and events in text is a key component of natural language understanding. Cross-document coreference resolution, in particular, is important for the growing interest in multi-document analysis tasks. In this work we propose a new model that extends the efficient sequential prediction paradigm for coreference resolution to cross-document settings and achieves competitive results for both entity and event coreference while providing strong evidence of the efficacy of both sequential models and higher-order inference in cross-document settings. Our model incrementally composes mentions into cluster representations and predicts links between a mention and the already constructed clusters, approximating a higher-order model. In addition, we conduct extensive ablation studies that provide new insights into the importance of various inputs and representation types in coreference.

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Human Rationales as Attribution Priors for Explainable Stance Detection
Sahil Jayaram | Emily Allaway
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

As NLP systems become better at detecting opinions and beliefs from text, it is important to ensure not only that models are accurate but also that they arrive at their predictions in ways that align with human reasoning. In this work, we present a method for imparting human-like rationalization to a stance detection model using crowdsourced annotations on a small fraction of the training data. We show that in a data-scarce setting, our approach can improve the reasoning of a state-of-the-art classifier—particularly for inputs containing challenging phenomena such as sarcasm—at no cost in predictive performance. Furthermore, we demonstrate that attention weights surpass a leading attribution method in providing faithful explanations of our model’s predictions, thus serving as a computationally cheap and reliable source of attributions for our model.

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Does Putting a Linguist in the Loop Improve NLU Data Collection?
Alicia Parrish | William Huang | Omar Agha | Soo-Hwan Lee | Nikita Nangia | Alexia Warstadt | Karmanya Aggarwal | Emily Allaway | Tal Linzen | Samuel R. Bowman
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Many crowdsourced NLP datasets contain systematic artifacts that are identified only after data collection is complete. Earlier identification of these issues should make it easier to create high-quality training and evaluation data. We attempt this by evaluating protocols in which expert linguists work ‘in the loop’ during data collection to identify and address these issues by adjusting task instructions and incentives. Using natural language inference as a test case, we compare three data collection protocols: (i) a baseline protocol with no linguist involvement, (ii) a linguist-in-the-loop intervention with iteratively-updated constraints on the writing task, and (iii) an extension that adds direct interaction between linguists and crowdworkers via a chatroom. We find that linguist involvement does not lead to increased accuracy on out-of-domain test sets compared to baseline, and adding a chatroom has no effect on the data. Linguist involvement does, however, lead to more challenging evaluation data and higher accuracy on some challenge sets, demonstrating the benefits of integrating expert analysis during data collection.

2020

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Event-Guided Denoising for Multilingual Relation Learning
Amith Ananthram | Emily Allaway | Kathleen McKeown
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

General purpose relation extraction has recently seen considerable gains in part due to a massively data-intensive distant supervision technique from Soares et al. (2019) that produces state-of-the-art results across many benchmarks. In this work, we present a methodology for collecting high quality training data for relation extraction from unlabeled text that achieves a near-recreation of their zero-shot and few-shot results at a fraction of the training cost. Our approach exploits the predictable distributional structure of date-marked news articles to build a denoised corpus – the extraction process filters out low quality examples. We show that a smaller multilingual encoder trained on this corpus performs comparably to the current state-of-the-art (when both receive little to no fine-tuning) on few-shot and standard relation benchmarks in English and Spanish despite using many fewer examples (50k vs. 300mil+).

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Zero-Shot Stance Detection: A Dataset and Model using Generalized Topic Representations
Emily Allaway | Kathleen McKeown
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Stance detection is an important component of understanding hidden influences in everyday life. Since there are thousands of potential topics to take a stance on, most with little to no training data, we focus on zero-shot stance detection: classifying stance from no training examples. In this paper, we present a new dataset for zero-shot stance detection that captures a wider range of topics and lexical variation than in previous datasets. Additionally, we propose a new model for stance detection that implicitly captures relationships between topics using generalized topic representations and show that this model improves performance on a number of challenging linguistic phenomena.

2018

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Event2Mind: Commonsense Inference on Events, Intents, and Reactions
Hannah Rashkin | Maarten Sap | Emily Allaway | Noah A. Smith | Yejin Choi
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We investigate a new commonsense inference task: given an event described in a short free-form text (“X drinks coffee in the morning”), a system reasons about the likely intents (“X wants to stay awake”) and reactions (“X feels alert”) of the event’s participants. To support this study, we construct a new crowdsourced corpus of 25,000 event phrases covering a diverse range of everyday events and situations. We report baseline performance on this task, demonstrating that neural encoder-decoder models can successfully compose embedding representations of previously unseen events and reason about the likely intents and reactions of the event participants. In addition, we demonstrate how commonsense inference on people’s intents and reactions can help unveil the implicit gender inequality prevalent in modern movie scripts.