Decoupling strategy and generation in negotiation dialogues

He He, Derek Chen, Anusha Balakrishnan, Percy Liang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

We consider negotiation settings in which two agents use natural language to bargain on goods. Agents need to decide on both high-level strategy (e.g., proposing $50) and the execution of that strategy (e.g., generating “The bike is brand new. Selling for just $50!”). Recent work on negotiation trains neural models, but their end-to-end nature makes it hard to control their strategy, and reinforcement learning tends to lead to degenerate solutions. In this paper, we propose a modular approach based on coarse dialogue acts (e.g., propose(price=50)) that decouples strategy and generation. We show that we can flexibly set the strategy using supervised learning, reinforcement learning, or domain-specific knowledge without degeneracy, while our retrieval-based generation can maintain context-awareness and produce diverse utterances. We test our approach on the recently proposed DEALORNODEAL game, and we also collect a richer dataset based on real items on Craigslist. Human evaluation shows that our systems achieve higher task success rate and more human-like negotiation behavior than previous approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2018
EditorsEllen Riloff, David Chiang, Julia Hockenmaier, Jun'ichi Tsujii
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics
Pages2333-2343
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781948087841
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Event2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2018 - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: Oct 31 2018Nov 4 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2018

Conference

Conference2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2018
CountryBelgium
CityBrussels
Period10/31/1811/4/18

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems

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  • Cite this

    He, H., Chen, D., Balakrishnan, A., & Liang, P. (2020). Decoupling strategy and generation in negotiation dialogues. In E. Riloff, D. Chiang, J. Hockenmaier, & J. Tsujii (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2018 (pp. 2333-2343). (Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2018). Association for Computational Linguistics.