Data-Efficient Paraphrase Generation to Bootstrap Intent Classification and Slot Labeling for New Features in Task-Oriented Dialog Systems

Shailza Jolly, Tobias Falke, Caglar Tirkaz, Daniil Sorokin

In: International Committee on Computational Linguistics. International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING-2020) December 8-13 Barcelona Spain ACL 2020.


Recent progress through advanced neural models pushed the performance of task-oriented dialog systems to almost perfect accuracy on existing benchmark datasets for intent classification and slot labeling. However, in evolving real-world dialog systems, where new functionality is regularly added, a major additional challenge is the lack of annotated training data for such new functionality, as the necessary data collection efforts are laborious and time-consuming. A potential solution to reduce the effort is to augment initial seed data by paraphrasing existing utterances automatically. In this paper, we propose a new, data-efficient approach following this idea. Using an interpretation-to-text model for paraphrase generation, we are able to rely on existing dialog system training data, and, in combination with shuffling-based sampling techniques, we can obtain diverse and novel paraphrases from small amounts of seed data. In experiments on a public dataset and with a real-world dialog system, we observe improvements for both intent classification and slot labeling, demonstrating the usefulness of our approach.


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Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence