DiactTOD: Learning Generalizable Latent Dialogue Acts for Controllable Task-Oriented Dialogue Systems

Qingyang Wu, James Gung, Raphael Shu, Yi Zhang


In Sessions:

Sigdial Oral Session 3: Dialogue modeling and evaluation: (Thursday, 10:30 CEST, Sun I , Watch on Zoom , Chat on Discord )

Abstract: Dialogue act annotations are important to improve response generation quality in task-oriented dialogue systems. However, it can be challenging to use dialogue acts to control response generation in a generalizable way because different datasets and tasks may have incompatible annotations. While alternative methods that utilize latent action spaces or reinforcement learning do not require explicit annotations, they may lack interpretability or face difficulties defining task-specific rewards. In this work, we present a novel end-to-end latent dialogue act model (DiactTOD) that represents dialogue acts in a latent space. DiactTOD, when pre-trained on a large corpus, is able to predict and control dialogue acts to generate controllable responses using these latent representations in a zero-shot fashion. Our approach demonstrates state-of-the-art performance across a wide range of experimental settings on the MultiWOZ dataset, including zero-shot, few-shot, and full data fine-tuning with both end-to-end and policy optimization configurations.