T-RECS: a Transformer-based Recommender Generating Textual Explanations and Integrating Unsupervised Language-based Critiquing

05/22/2020 ∙ by Diego Antognini, et al. ∙ 0

Supporting recommendations with personalized and relevant explanations increases trust and perceived quality, and helps users make better decisions. Prior work attempted to generate a synthetic review or review segment as an explanation, but they were not judged convincing in evaluations by human users. We propose T-RECS, a multi-task learning Transformer-based model that jointly performs recommendation with textual explanations using a novel multi-aspect masking technique. We show that human users significantly prefer the justifications generated by T-RECS than those generated by state-of-the-art techniques. At the same time, experiments on two datasets show that T-RECS slightly improves on the recommendation performance of strong state-of-the-art baselines. Another feature of T-RECS is that it allows users to react to a recommendation by critiquing the textual explanation. The system updates its user model and the resulting recommendations according to the critique. This is based on a novel unsupervised critiquing method for single- and multi-step critiquing with textual explanations. Experiments on two real-world datasets show that T-RECS is the first to obtain good performance in adapting to the preferences expressed in multi-step critiquing.



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