Zero-Shot Generalizable End-to-End Task-Oriented Dialog System using Context Summarization and Domain Schema


Task-oriented dialog systems empower users to accomplish their goals by facilitating intuitive and expressive natural language interactions. State-of-the-art approaches in task-oriented dialog systems formulate the problem as a conditional sequence generation task and fine-tune pre-trained causal language models in the supervised setting. This requires labeled training data for each new domain or task, and acquiring such data is prohibitively laborious and expensive, thus making it a bottleneck for scaling systems to a wide range of domains. To overcome this challenge, we introduce a novel Zero-Shot generalizable end-to-end Task-oriented Dialog system, ZS-ToD, that leverages domain schemas to allow for robust generalization to unseen domains and exploits effective summarization of the dialog history. We employ GPT-2 as a backbone model and introduce a two-step training process where the goal of the first step is to learn the general structure of the dialog data and the second step optimizes the response generation as well as intermediate outputs, such as dialog state and system actions. As opposed to state-of-the-art systems that are trained to fulfill certain intents in the given domains and memorize task-specific conversational patterns, ZS-ToD learns generic task-completion skills by comprehending domain semantics via domain schemas and generalizing to unseen domains seamlessly. We conduct an extensive experimental evaluation on SGD and SGD-X datasets that span up to 20 unique domains and ZS-ToD outperforms state-of-the-art systems on key metrics, with an improvement of +17% on joint goal accuracy and +5 on inform. Additionally, we present a detailed ablation study to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed components and training mechanis

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