Ari Holtzman


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Experience Grounds Language
Yonatan Bisk | Ari Holtzman | Jesse Thomason | Jacob Andreas | Yoshua Bengio | Joyce Chai | Mirella Lapata | Angeliki Lazaridou | Jonathan May | Aleksandr Nisnevich | Nicolas Pinto | Joseph Turian
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Language understanding research is held back by a failure to relate language to the physical world it describes and to the social interactions it facilitates. Despite the incredible effectiveness of language processing models to tackle tasks after being trained on text alone, successful linguistic communication relies on a shared experience of the world. It is this shared experience that makes utterances meaningful. Natural language processing is a diverse field, and progress throughout its development has come from new representational theories, modeling techniques, data collection paradigms, and tasks. We posit that the present success of representation learning approaches trained on large, text-only corpora requires the parallel tradition of research on the broader physical and social context of language to address the deeper questions of communication.


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BottleSum: Unsupervised and Self-supervised Sentence Summarization using the Information Bottleneck Principle
Peter West | Ari Holtzman | Jan Buys | Yejin Choi
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

The principle of the Information Bottleneck (Tishby et al., 1999) produces a summary of information X optimized to predict some other relevant information Y. In this paper, we propose a novel approach to unsupervised sentence summarization by mapping the Information Bottleneck principle to a conditional language modelling objective: given a sentence, our approach seeks a compressed sentence that can best predict the next sentence. Our iterative algorithm under the Information Bottleneck objective searches gradually shorter subsequences of the given sentence while maximizing the probability of the next sentence conditioned on the summary. Using only pretrained language models with no direct supervision, our approach can efficiently perform extractive sentence summarization over a large corpus. Building on our unsupervised extractive summarization, we also present a new approach to self-supervised abstractive summarization, where a transformer-based language model is trained on the output summaries of our unsupervised method. Empirical results demonstrate that our extractive method outperforms other unsupervised models on multiple automatic metrics. In addition, we find that our self-supervised abstractive model outperforms unsupervised baselines (including our own) by human evaluation along multiple attributes.

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Counterfactual Story Reasoning and Generation
Lianhui Qin | Antoine Bosselut | Ari Holtzman | Chandra Bhagavatula | Elizabeth Clark | Yejin Choi
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Counterfactual reasoning requires predicting how alternative events, contrary to what actually happened, might have resulted in different outcomes. Despite being considered a necessary component of AI-complete systems, few resources have been developed for evaluating counterfactual reasoning in narratives. In this paper, we propose Counterfactual Story Rewriting: given an original story and an intervening counterfactual event, the task is to minimally revise the story to make it compatible with the given counterfactual event. Solving this task will require deep understanding of causal narrative chains and counterfactual invariance, and integration of such story reasoning capabilities into conditional language generation models. We present TIMETRAVEL, a new dataset of 29,849 counterfactual rewritings, each with the original story, a counterfactual event, and human-generated revision of the original story compatible with the counterfactual event. Additionally, we include 81,407 counterfactual “branches” without a rewritten storyline to support future work on semi- or un-supervised approaches to counterfactual story rewriting. Finally, we evaluate the counterfactual rewriting capacities of several competitive baselines based on pretrained language models, and assess whether common overlap and model-based automatic metrics for text generation correlate well with human scores for counterfactual rewriting.

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HellaSwag: Can a Machine Really Finish Your Sentence?
Rowan Zellers | Ari Holtzman | Yonatan Bisk | Ali Farhadi | Yejin Choi
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Recent work by Zellers et al. (2018) introduced a new task of commonsense natural language inference: given an event description such as “A woman sits at a piano,” a machine must select the most likely followup: “She sets her fingers on the keys.” With the introduction of BERT, near human-level performance was reached. Does this mean that machines can perform human level commonsense inference? In this paper, we show that commonsense inference still proves difficult for even state-of-the-art models, by presenting HellaSwag, a new challenge dataset. Though its questions are trivial for humans (>95% accuracy), state-of-the-art models struggle (<48%). We achieve this via Adversarial Filtering (AF), a data collection paradigm wherein a series of discriminators iteratively select an adversarial set of machine-generated wrong answers. AF proves to be surprisingly robust. The key insight is to scale up the length and complexity of the dataset examples towards a critical ‘Goldilocks’ zone wherein generated text is ridiculous to humans, yet often misclassified by state-of-the-art models. Our construction of HellaSwag, and its resulting difficulty, sheds light on the inner workings of deep pretrained models. More broadly, it suggests a new path forward for NLP research, in which benchmarks co-evolve with the evolving state-of-the-art in an adversarial way, so as to present ever-harder challenges.


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Sounding Board: A User-Centric and Content-Driven Social Chatbot
Hao Fang | Hao Cheng | Maarten Sap | Elizabeth Clark | Ari Holtzman | Yejin Choi | Noah A. Smith | Mari Ostendorf
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Demonstrations

We present Sounding Board, a social chatbot that won the 2017 Amazon Alexa Prize. The system architecture consists of several components including spoken language processing, dialogue management, language generation, and content management, with emphasis on user-centric and content-driven design. We also share insights gained from large-scale online logs based on 160,000 conversations with real-world users.

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Learning to Write with Cooperative Discriminators
Ari Holtzman | Jan Buys | Maxwell Forbes | Antoine Bosselut | David Golub | Yejin Choi
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Despite their local fluency, long-form text generated from RNNs is often generic, repetitive, and even self-contradictory. We propose a unified learning framework that collectively addresses all the above issues by composing a committee of discriminators that can guide a base RNN generator towards more globally coherent generations. More concretely, discriminators each specialize in a different principle of communication, such as Grice’s maxims, and are collectively combined with the base RNN generator through a composite decoding objective. Human evaluation demonstrates that text generated by our model is preferred over that of baselines by a large margin, significantly enhancing the overall coherence, style, and information of the generations.


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Connotation Frames of Power and Agency in Modern Films
Maarten Sap | Marcella Cindy Prasettio | Ari Holtzman | Hannah Rashkin | Yejin Choi
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The framing of an action influences how we perceive its actor. We introduce connotation frames of power and agency, a pragmatic formalism organized using frame semantic representations, to model how different levels of power and agency are implicitly projected on actors through their actions. We use the new power and agency frames to measure the subtle, but prevalent, gender bias in the portrayal of modern film characters and provide insights that deviate from the well-known Bechdel test. Our contributions include an extended lexicon of connotation frames along with a web interface that provides a comprehensive analysis through the lens of connotation frames.