Think before you speak: Explicitly generating implicit commonsense knowledge for response generation
Implicit knowledge, such as common sense, is key to fluid human conversations. Current neural response generation (RG) models are trained to generate responses directly, omitting unstated implicit knowledge. In this paper, we present Think-Before-Speaking (TBS), a generative approach to first externalize implicit commonsense knowledge (think) and use this knowledge to generate responses (speak). We expect that externalizing implicit knowledge allows more efficient learning, produces more informative responses, and enables more explainable models. We analyze different choices to collect knowledge-aligned dialogues, represent implicit knowledge, and transition between knowledge and dialogues. Empirical results show TBS models outperform end-to-end and knowledge-augmented RG baselines on most automatic metrics and generate more informative, specific, and commonsense-following responses, as evaluated by human annotators. TBS also generates knowledge that makes sense and is relevant to the dialogue around 85% of the time.