A Distributional Approach to Controlled Text GenerationDownload PDF

28 Sep 2020 (modified: 25 Jan 2021)ICLR 2021 OralReaders: Everyone
  • Keywords: Controlled NLG, Bias in Language Models, Energy-Based Models, Information Geometry, Exponential Families
  • Abstract: We propose a Distributional Approach to address Controlled Text Generation from pre-trained Language Models (LMs). This view permits to define, in a single formal framework, “pointwise” and “distributional” constraints over the target LM --- to our knowledge, this is the first approach with such generality --- while minimizing KL divergence with the initial LM distribution. The optimal target distribution is then uniquely determined as an explicit EBM (Energy-Based Model) representation. From that optimal representation, we then train the target controlled autoregressive LM through an adaptive distributional variant of Policy Gradient. We conduct a first set of experiments over pointwise constraints showing the advantages of our approach over a set of baselines, in terms of obtaining a controlled LM balancing constraint satisfaction with divergence from the initial LM (GPT-2). We then perform experiments over distributional constraints, a unique feature of our approach, demonstrating its potential as a remedy to the problem of Bias in Language Models. Through an ablation study, we show the effectiveness of our adaptive technique for obtaining faster convergence.
  • One-sentence Summary: We propose a novel approach to Controlled Text Generation, relying on Constraints over Distributions, Information Geometry, and Sampling from Energy-Based Models.
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