Why Do Neural Response Generation Models Prefer Universal Replies?

Recent advances in sequence-to-sequence learning reveal a purely data-driven approach to the response generation task. Despite its diverse applications, existing neural models are prone to producing short and generic replies, making it infeasible to tackle open-domain challenges. In this research, we analyze this critical issue in light of the model's optimization goal and the specific characteristics of the human-to-human dialog corpus. By decomposing the black box into parts, a detailed analysis of the probability limit was conducted to reveal the reason behind these universal replies. Based on these analyses, we propose a max-margin ranking regularization term to avoid the models leaning to these replies. Finally, empirical experiments on case studies and benchmarks with several metrics validate this approach.

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