PENTATRON: PErsonalized coNText-aware transformer for retrieval-based cOnversational uNderstanding
Conversational understanding is an integral part of modern intelligent devices. In a large fraction of the global traffic from people using smart digital assistants, frictions in dialogues may be attributed to incorrect understanding of the entities in a user’s query due to factors including ambiguous mentions, mispronunciation, background noise and faulty on-device signal processing. Such errors are compounded by two common deficiencies from intelligent devices namely, (1) the device not being tailored to individual users, and (2) the device responses being unaware of the context in the conversation session . Viewing this problem via the lens of retrieval-based search engines, we build and evaluate a scalable entity correction system, PENTATRON. The system leverages a parametric transformer-based language model to learn patterns from in-session user-device interactions coupled with a non-parametric personalized entity index to compute the correct query, which aids downstream components in reasoning about the best response. In addition to establishing baselines and demonstrating the value of personalized and context-aware systems, we use multitasking to learn the domain of the correct entity. We also investigate the utility of language model prompts. Through extensive experiments, we show a significant upward movement of the key metric (Exact Match) by up to 500.97% (relative to the baseline).