How Context Affects Language Models' Factual Predictions

05/10/2020 ∙ by Fabio Petroni, et al. ∙ 0

When pre-trained on large unsupervised textual corpora, language models are able to store and retrieve factual knowledge to some extent, making it possible to use them directly for zero-shot cloze-style question answering. However, storing factual knowledge in a fixed number of weights of a language model clearly has limitations. Previous approaches have successfully provided access to information outside the model weights using supervised architectures that combine an information retrieval system with a machine reading component. In this paper, we go a step further and integrate information from a retrieval system with a pre-trained language model in a purely unsupervised way. We report that augmenting pre-trained language models in this way dramatically improves performance and that the resulting system, despite being unsupervised, is competitive with a supervised machine reading baseline. Furthermore, processing query and context with different segment tokens allows BERT to utilize its Next Sentence Prediction pre-trained classifier to determine whether the context is relevant or not, substantially improving BERT's zero-shot cloze-style question-answering performance and making its predictions robust to noisy contexts.

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