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We have presented a novel neural task-oriented dialogue model that is able to sustain grounded discourse across a variety of domains by retrieving world knowledge represented in knowledge bases

Key-Value Retrieval Networks for Task-Oriented Dialogue

annual meeting of the special interest group on discourse and dialogue, pp.37-49, (2017)

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Abstract

Neural task-oriented dialogue systems often struggle to smoothly interface with a knowledge base. In this work, we seek to address this problem by proposing a new neural dialogue agent that is able to effectively sustain grounded, multi-domain discourse through a novel key-value retrieval mechanism. The model is end-to-end differentiable ...More

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Introduction
  • With the success of new speech-based humancomputer interfaces, there is a great need for effective task-oriented dialogue agents that can handle everyday tasks such as scheduling events and booking hotels.
  • Current commercial dialogue agents are often brittle pattern-matching systems which are unable to maintain the kind of flexible conversations that people desire.
  • Neural dialogue agents present one of the most promising avenues for leveraging dialogue corpora to build statistical models directly from data by using powerful distributed representations (Bordes and Weston, 2016; Wen et al, 2016b; Dhingra et al, 2016).
  • Event opt.
  • Dinner opt.
Highlights
  • With the success of new speech-based humancomputer interfaces, there is a great need for effective task-oriented dialogue agents that can handle everyday tasks such as scheduling events and booking hotels
  • The main contributions of our work are two-fold: 1) We introduce the Key-Value Retrieval Network, a highly performant neural taskoriented dialogue agent that is able to smoothly incorporate information from underlying knowledge bases through a novel key-value retrieval mechanism
  • Though prior work has shown that automatic evaluation metrics often correlate poorly with human assessments of dialogue agents (Liu et al, 2016), we report a number of automatic metrics in Table 3
  • Our rule-based model has the lowest BLEU score, which is a consequence of the fact that the naturalness of the system output is very limited by the number of diverse and distinct response templates we manually provided. This is a common issue with heuristic dialogue agents and one that could be partially alleviated through a larger collection of lexically rich response templates
  • We have presented a novel neural task-oriented dialogue model that is able to sustain grounded discourse across a variety of domains by retrieving world knowledge represented in knowledge bases
Methods
  • The authors first introduce the details of the experiments and present results from both automatic and human evaluation. 5.1 Details

    For the experiments, the authors divided the dialogues into train/validation/test sets using a 0.8/0.1/0.1 data split and ensured that each domain type was represented in each of the splits.

    To reduce lexical variability, in a pre-processing step, the authors map the variant surface expression of entities to a canonical form using named entity recognition and linking.
  • The authors' model outputs the canonical forms of the entities, and so the authors realize their surface forms by running the system output through an inverse lexicon.
  • The inverse lexicon converts the entities back to their surface forms by sampling from a multinomial distribution with parameters of the distribution equal to the frequency count of a given surface form for an entity as observed in the training and validation data.
  • Note that for the purposes of computing the evaluation metrics, the authors operate on the canonicalized forms, so that any non-deterministic variability in surface form realization does not affect the computed metrics
Results
  • The authors see that of the baseline models, Copy Net has the lowest aggregate entity F1 performance.
  • The authors' rule-based model has the lowest BLEU score, which is a consequence of the fact that the naturalness of the system output is very limited by the number of diverse and distinct response templates the authors manually provided
  • This is a common issue with heuristic dialogue agents and one that could be partially alleviated through a larger collection of lexically rich response templates.
  • This is because it was designed to accurately parse the semantics of user utterances and query the underlying KB of the dialogue, through manually-provided heuristics
Conclusion
  • Conclusion and Future

    Work

    In this work, the authors have presented a novel neural task-oriented dialogue model that is able to sustain grounded discourse across a variety of domains by retrieving world knowledge represented in knowledge bases.
Tables
  • Table1: Slots types and number distinct slot values for different domains. POI denotes point-of-interest
  • Table2: Statistics of Dataset
  • Table3: Evaluation on our test data. Bold values indicate best model performance. We provide both an aggregated F1 score as well as domain-specific F1 scores. Attn. Seq2Seq refers to a sequence-tosequence model with encoder attention. KV Retrieval Net (no enc. attn.) refers to our new model with no encoder attention context vector computed during decoding
  • Table4: Human evaluation results on realtime dialogues
  • Table5: Human evaluation of system outputs on test set
Download tables as Excel
Related work
  • Task-oriented agents for spoken dialogue systems have been the subject of extensive research effort. One line of work by (Young et al, 2013) has tackled the problem using partially observable Markov decision processes and reinforcement learning with carefully designed action spaces, though the number of distinct action states makes this approach often brittle and computationally intractable.

    The recent successes of neural architectures on a number of traditional natural language processing subtasks (Bahdanau et al, 2015; Sutskever et al, 2014; Vinyals et al, 2015) have motivated investigation into dialogue agents that can effectively make use of distributed neural representations for dialogue state management, belief tracking, and response generation. Recent work by (Wen et al, 2016b) has built systems with modularly-connected representation, belief state, and generation components. These models learn to explicitly represent user intent through intermediate supervision, which breaks end-to-end trainability. Other work by (Bordes and Weston, 2016; Liu and Perez, 2016) stores dialogue context in a memory module and repeatedly queries and reasons about this context to select an adequate system response from a set of all candidate responses.
Funding
  • We gratefully acknowledge the funding of the Ford Research and Innovation Center, under Grant No 124344
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Author
Mihail Eric
Mihail Eric
Lakshmi Krishnan
Lakshmi Krishnan
Francois Charette
Francois Charette
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