Helpfulness and Fairness of Task-Oriented Dialogue Systems

Jiao Sun,Yu Hou,Jiin Kim, Nanyun Peng


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Goal-oriented dialogue systems aim to help users achieve certain goals. Therefore, how humans perceive their helpfulness is important. However, neither the human-perceived helpfulness of goal-oriented dialogue systems nor its fairness implication has been well studied. In this paper, we study computational measurements of helpfulness. We first formally define a dialogue response as helpful if it is relevant & coherent, useful, and informative to a query. Then, we collect human annotations for the helpfulness of dialogue responses based on our definition and build a classifier to automatically determine the helpfulness of a response. We further propose to use the helpfulness level of a dialogue system towards different user queries to measure the fairness of a dialogue system. Experiments with state-of-the-art dialogue systems under three information-seeking scenarios reveal that existing systems tend to be more helpful for questions regarding concepts from highly-developed countries than less-developed countries, uncovering potential fairness concerns underlying the current goal-oriented dialogue systems.
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