Variational Hierarchical Dialog Autoencoder for Dialog State Tracking Data Augmentation
Recent works have shown that generative data augmentation, where synthetic samples generated from deep generative models complement the training dataset, benefit NLP tasks. In this work, we extend this approach to the task of dialog state tracking for goaloriented dialogs. Due to the inherent hierarchical structure of goal-oriented dialogs over utterances and related annotations, the deep generative model must be capable of capturing the coherence among different hierarchies and types of dialog features. We propose the Variational Hierarchical Dialog Autoencoder (VHDA) for modeling the complete aspects of goal-oriented dialogs, including linguistic features and underlying structured annotations, namely speaker information, dialog acts, and goals. The proposed architecture is designed to model each aspect of goal-oriented dialogs using inter-connected latent variables and learns to generate coherent goal-oriented dialogs from the latent spaces. To overcome training issues that arise from training complex variational models, we propose appropriate training strategies. Experiments on various dialog datasets show that our model improves the downstream dialog trackers’ robustness via generative data augmentation. We also discover additional benefits of our unified approach to modeling goal-oriented dialogs – dialog response generation and user simulation, where our model outperforms previous strong baselines.