PEPDS: A Polite and Empathetic Persuasive Dialogue System for Charity Donation

Persuasive conversations for a social cause often require influencing other person’s attitude or intention that may fail even with compelling arguments. The use of emotions and different types of polite tones as needed with facts may enhance the persuasiveness of a message. To incorporate these two aspects, we propose a polite, empathetic persuasive dialogue system (PEPDS). First, in a Reinforcement Learning setting, a Maximum Likelihood Estimation loss based model is fine-tuned by designing an efficient reward function consisting of five different sub rewards viz. Persuasion, Emotion, Politeness-Strategy Consistency, Dialogue-Coherence and Non-repetitiveness. Then, to generate empathetic utterances for non-empathetic ones, an Empathetic transfer model is built upon the RL fine-tuned model. Due to the unavailability of an appropriate dataset, by utilizing the PERSUASIONFORGOOD dataset, we create two datasets, viz. EPP4G and ETP4G. EPP4G is used to train three transformer-based classification models as per persuasiveness, emotion and politeness strategy to achieve respective reward feedbacks. The ETP4G dataset is used to train an empathetic transfer model. Our experimental results demonstrate that PEPDS increases the rate of persuasive responses with emotion and politeness acknowledgement compared to the current state-of-the-art dialogue models, while also enhancing the dialogue’s engagement and maintaining the linguistic quality.

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