Regularizing Dialogue Generation by Imitating Implicit Scenarios

Published in The 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, 2020

Recommended citation: Shaoxiong Feng, Xuancheng Ren, Hongshen Chen, Bin Sun, Kan Li, and Xu Sun. The 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing. EMNLP 2020.

Link: [arxiv]


Human dialogues are scenario-based and appropriate responses generally relate to the latent context knowledge entailed by the specific scenario. To enable responses that are more meaningful and context-specific, we propose to improve generative dialogue systems from the scenario perspective, where both dialogue history and future conversation are taken into account to implicitly reconstruct the scenario knowledge. More importantly, the conversation scenarios are further internalized using imitation learning framework, where the conventional dialogue model that has no access to future conversations is effectively regularized by transferring the scenario knowledge contained in hierarchical supervising signals from the scenario-based dialogue model, so that the future conversation is not required in actual inference. Extensive evaluations show that our approach significantly outperforms state-of-the-art baselines on diversity and relevance, and expresses scenario-specific knowledge.