Reinforcement adaptation of an attention-based neural natural language generator for spoken dialogue systems


  • Matthieu Riou CERI-LIA, Avignon Université
  • Bassam Jabaian CERI-LIA, Avignon Université
  • Stéphane Huet CERI-LIA, Avignon Université
  • Fabrice Lefèvre CERI-LIA, Avignon Université



Following some recent propositions to handle natural language generation in spoken dialogue systems with long short-term memory recurrent neural network models~\citep{Wen2016a} we first investigate a variant thereof with the objective of a better integration of the attention subnetwork. Then our next objective is to propose and evaluate a framework to adapt the NLG module online through direct interactions with the users. When doing so the basic way is to ask the user to utter an alternative sentence to express a particular dialogue act. But then the system has to decide between using an automatic transcription or to ask for a manual transcription. To do so a reinforcement learning approach based on an adversarial bandit scheme is retained. We show that by defining appropriately the rewards as a linear combination of expected payoffs and costs of acquiring the new data provided by the user, a system design can balance between improving the system's performance towards a better match with the user's preferences and the burden associated with it. Then the actual benefits of this system is assessed with a human evaluation, showing that the addition of more diverse utterances allows to produce sentences more satisfying for the user.