Dialogue in the Wild: Learning from a Deployed Role-Playing Game with Humans and Bots

ACM International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (ACL-IJCNLP)


Much of NLP research has focused on crowdsourced static datasets and the supervised learning paradigm of training once and then evaluating test performance. As argued in de Vries et al. (2020), crowdsourced data has the issues of lack of naturalness and relevance to real-world use cases, while the static dataset paradigm does not allow for a model to learn from its experiences of using language (Silver et al., 2013). In contrast, one might hope for machine learning systems that become more useful as they interact with people. In this work, we build and deploy a role-playing game, whereby human players converse with learning agents situated in an open-domain fantasy world. We show that by training models on the conversations they have with humans in the game the models progressively improve, as measured by automatic metrics and online engagement scores. This learning is shown to be more efficient than crowdsourced data when applied to conversations with real users, as well as being far cheaper to collect.

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