Unsupervised Learning of Hierarchical Conversation Structure

24 May 2022  ·  Bo-Ru Lu, Yushi Hu, Hao Cheng, Noah A. Smith, Mari Ostendorf ·

Human conversations can evolve in many different ways, creating challenges for automatic understanding and summarization. Goal-oriented conversations often have meaningful sub-dialogue structure, but it can be highly domain-dependent. This work introduces an unsupervised approach to learning hierarchical conversation structure, including turn and sub-dialogue segment labels, corresponding roughly to dialogue acts and sub-tasks, respectively. The decoded structure is shown to be useful in enhancing neural models of language for three conversation-level understanding tasks. Further, the learned finite-state sub-dialogue network is made interpretable through automatic summarization. Our code and trained models are available at \url{https://github.com/boru-roylu/THETA}.

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