MALA: Cross-Domain Dialogue Generation with Action Learning


  • Xinting Huang The University of Melbourne
  • Jianzhong Qi The University of Melbourne
  • Yu Sun Twitter Inc
  • Rui Zhang The University of Melbourne



Response generation for task-oriented dialogues involves two basic components: dialogue planning and surface realization. These two components, however, have a discrepancy in their objectives, i.e., task completion and language quality. To deal with such discrepancy, conditioned response generation has been introduced where the generation process is factorized into action decision and language generation via explicit action representations. To obtain action representations, recent studies learn latent actions in an unsupervised manner based on the utterance lexical similarity. Such an action learning approach is prone to diversities of language surfaces, which may impinge task completion and language quality. To address this issue, we propose multi-stage adaptive latent action learning (MALA) that learns semantic latent actions by distinguishing the effects of utterances on dialogue progress. We model the utterance effect using the transition of dialogue states caused by the utterance and develop a semantic similarity measurement that estimates whether utterances have similar effects. For learning semantic actions on domains without dialogue states, MALA extends the semantic similarity measurement across domains progressively, i.e., from aligning shared actions to learning domain-specific actions. Experiments using multi-domain datasets, SMD and MultiWOZ, show that our proposed model achieves consistent improvements over the baselines models in terms of both task completion and language quality.




How to Cite

Huang, X., Qi, J., Sun, Y., & Zhang, R. (2020). MALA: Cross-Domain Dialogue Generation with Action Learning. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 34(05), 7977-7984.



AAAI Technical Track: Natural Language Processing