Real world scenarios present a challenge for text classification, since labels are usually expensive and the data is often characterized by class imbalance. Active Learning (AL) is a ubiquitous paradigm to cope with data scarcity. Recently, pre-trained NLP models, and BERT in particular, are receiving massive attention due to their outstanding performance in various NLP tasks. However, the use of AL with deep pre-trained models has so far received little consideration. Here, we present a large-scale empirical study on active learning techniques for BERT-based classification, addressing a diverse set of AL strategies and datasets. We focus on practical scenarios of binary text classification, where the annotation budget is very small, and the data is often skewed. Our results demonstrate that AL can boost BERT performance, especially in the most realistic scenario in which the initial set of labeled examples is created using keyword-based queries, resulting in a biased sample of the minority class. We release our research framework, aiming to facilitate future research along the lines explored here.
In Natural Language Understanding, the task of response generation is usually focused on responses to short texts, such as tweets or a turn in a dialog. Here we present a novel task of producing a critical response to a long argumentative text, and suggest a method based on general rebuttal arguments to address it. We do this in the context of the recently-suggested task of listening comprehension over argumentative content: given a speech on some specified topic, and a list of relevant arguments, the goal is to determine which of the arguments appear in the speech. The general rebuttals we describe here (in English) overcome the need for topic-specific arguments to be provided, by proving to be applicable for a large set of topics. This allows creating responses beyond the scope of topics for which specific arguments are available. All data collected during this work is freely available for research.
Extraction of financial and economic events from text has previously been done mostly using rule-based methods, with more recent works employing machine learning techniques. This work is in line with this latter approach, leveraging relevant Wikipedia sections to extract weak labels for sentences describing economic events. Whereas previous weakly supervised approaches required a knowledge-base of such events, or corresponding financial figures, our approach requires no such additional data, and can be employed to extract economic events related to companies which are not even mentioned in the training data.
Competitive debaters often find themselves facing a challenging task – how to debate a topic they know very little about, with only minutes to prepare, and without access to books or the Internet? What they often do is rely on ”first principles”, commonplace arguments which are relevant to many topics, and which they have refined in past debates. In this work we aim to explicitly define a taxonomy of such principled recurring arguments, and, given a controversial topic, to automatically identify which of these arguments are relevant to the topic. As far as we know, this is the first time that this approach to argument invention is formalized and made explicit in the context of NLP. The main goal of this work is to show that it is possible to define such a taxonomy. While the taxonomy suggested here should be thought of as a ”first attempt” it is nonetheless coherent, covers well the relevant topics and coincides with what professional debaters actually argue in their speeches, and facilitates automatic argument invention for new topics.