Schema-Guided Paradigm for Zero-Shot Dialog

SIGDIAL (ACL) 2021  ·  Shikib Mehri, Maxine Eskenazi ·

Developing mechanisms that flexibly adapt dialog systems to unseen tasks and domains is a major challenge in dialog research. Neural models implicitly memorize task-specific dialog policies from the training data. We posit that this implicit memorization has precluded zero-shot transfer learning. To this end, we leverage the schema-guided paradigm, wherein the task-specific dialog policy is explicitly provided to the model. We introduce the Schema Attention Model (SAM) and improved schema representations for the STAR corpus. SAM obtains significant improvement in zero-shot settings, with a +22 F1 score improvement over prior work. These results validate the feasibility of zero-shot generalizability in dialog. Ablation experiments are also presented to demonstrate the efficacy of SAM.

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