Facebook Open Sources Blender, the Largest-Ever Open Domain Chatbot.

Facebook Open Sources Blender, the Largest-Ever Open Domain Chatbot.

The new conversational agent exhibit human-like behavior in conversations about almost any topic. Natural language understanding(NLU) has been one of the most active areas adopting state-pf-the-art deep learning technologies. Facebook Open Sources Blender, the Largest-Ever Open Domain Chatbot.

The new conversational agent exhibit human-like behavior in conversations about almost any topic.

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Natural language understanding(NLU) has been one of the most active areas adopting state-pf-the-art deep learning technologies. Today, we have dozens of mainstream NLU stacks that enable the implementation of decently sophisticated conversational agents with minimum efforts. However, the vast majority of conversational models remain highly constrained to a single subject. The industry refers to these agents as closed-domain chatbots. The opposite of closed-domain chatbots would be conversational agents that can engage in conversations across a multitude of topics simulating a human conversational style. We called this type of agents, open-domain chatbots and they are incredibly difficult to implement. Recently, the Facebook artificial intelligence research(FAIR) team unveiled the research and open source code for Blender, the largest-ever open domain chatbot.

The quest for building open-domain conversational agents that can mimic human-style dialogs is a key focus on NLU research for several reasons. Language is a fundamental element in the development of human intelligence since our infant days. Throughout that process, we acquire a series of skills such as the ability to listen, empathy or aligning different responses with a consistent point of view or values which are essential pieces of human communications. While we still don’t understand the neuroscientific architecture of those capabilities, we can agree that its recreation in NLU agents is required to achieved human-level communications. Not surprisingly, many of the companies pursuing research in open-domain chatbots are technology giants heavily invested in conversational interfaces. A few months ago, Google unveiled the research behind Meena, a conversational agent that could engage in dialogs across different topics. Despite those efforts, the implementation of open-domain chatbots remains incredibly challenging. In particular, there are three key challenges that remain incredibly crucial for the implementation of open-domain chatbots with the current generation of NLU technologies.

  1. Large Scale Pre-Training: Building open-domain chatbots today requires of massively large pretrained models. This approach has been proven by recent language agents such as Google’s BERT or Microsoft’s Turing-NLG.
  2. Blending Skills: Abilities such as empathy, unique personality or contextualized knowledge are essential for good conversations.
  3. Human Subjectivity: There is no effective way to quantify a human-like conversation. For that, we still rely on human judgement. Research has shown that subjective aspects such as the length of an answer can result in impact in the human judgements of quality.

chatbot facebook nlp open source blender nlu

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