SIGdial 2018

19th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue

Toward zero-shot Entity Recognition in Task-oriented Conversational Agents

Marco Guerini, Simone Magnolini, Vevake Balaraman, Bernardo Magnini

We present a domain portable zero-shot learning approach for entity recognition in task-oriented conversational agents, which does not assume any annotated sentences at training time. Rather, we derive a neural model of the entity names based only on available gazetteers, and then apply the model to recognize new entities in the context of user utterances. In order to evaluate our working hypothesis we focus on nominal entities that are largely used in ecommerce to name products. Through a set of experiments in two languages (English and Italian) and three different domains (furniture, food, clothing), we show that the neural gazetteer-based approach outperforms several competitive baselines, with minimal requirements of linguistic features.