Evaluation of Synthetic Datasets Generation for Intent Classification Tasks in Portuguese

  • Robson T. Paula UFC
  • Décio G. Aguiar Neto UNICAMP
  • Davi Romero UFC
  • Paulo T. Guerra UFC


A chatbot is an artificial intelligence based system aimed at chatting with users, commonly used as a virtual assistant to help people or answer questions. Intent classification is an essential task for chatbots where it aims to identify what the user wants in a certain dialogue. However, for many domains, little data are available to properly train those systems. In this work, we evaluate the performance of two methods to generate synthetic data for chatbots, one based on template questions and another based on neural text generation. We build four datasets that are used training chatbot components in the intent classification task. We intend to simulate the task of migrating a search-based portal to an interactive dialogue-based information service by using artificial datasets for initial model training. Our results show that template-based datasets are slightly superior to those neural-based generated in our application domain, however, neural-generated present good results and they are a viable option when one has limited access to domain experts to hand-code text templates.


Al-Sinani, A. H. and Al-Saidi, B. S. (2019). A survey of chatbot creation tools for noncoder. Journal of Student Research.

Amin-Nejad, A., Ive, J., and Velupillai, S. (2020). Exploring transformer text generation for medical dataset augmentation. In Proceedings of the 12th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference, pages 4699–4708.

Bird, J. J., Ekárt, A., and Faria, D. R. (2020). Chatbot interaction with artificial intelligence: Human data augmentation with T5 and language transformer ensemble for text classification. arXiv preprint arXiv:2010.05990.

Bocklisch, T., Faulkner, J., Pawlowski, N., and Nichol, A. (2017). Rasa: Open source language understanding and dialogue management. arXiv preprint arXiv:1712.05181.

Bunk, T., Varshneya, D., Vlasov, V., and Nichol, A. (2020). Diet: Lightweight language understanding for dialogue systems. arXiv preprint arXiv:2004.09936.

Carmo, D., Piau, M., Campiotti, I., Nogueira, R., and Lotufo, R. (2020). PTT5: Pretraining and validating the T5 model on brazilian portuguese data. arXiv preprint arXiv:2008.09144.

Chen, H., Liu, X., Yin, D., and Tang, J. (2017). A survey on dialogue systems: Recent advances and new frontiers. Acm Sigkdd Explorations Newsletter, 19(2):25–35.

Dauphin, Y. N., Tur, G., Hakkani-Tur, D., and Heck, L. (2013). Zero-shot learning for semantic utterance classification. arXiv preprint arXiv:1401.0509.

Deng, L., Tur, G., He, X., and Hakkani-Tur, D. (2012). Use of kernel deep convex netIn 2012 IEEE works and end-to-end learning for spoken language understanding. Spoken Language Technology Workshop (SLT), pages 210–215. IEEE.

Deriu, J., Rodrigo, A., Otegi, A., Echegoyen, G., Rosset, S., Agirre, E., and Cieliebak, M. (2021). Survey on evaluation methods for dialogue systems. Artificial Intelligence Review, 54(1):755–810.

Devlin, J., Chang, M.-W., Lee, K., and Toutanova, K. (2019). BERT: Pre-training of In Proceedings of the deep bidirectional transformers for language understanding. 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 1 (Long and Short Papers), pages 4171–4186, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Association for Computational Linguistics.

Gatt, A. and Krahmer, E. (2018). Survey of the state of the art in natural language generation: Core tasks, applications and evaluation. J. Artif. Int. Res., 61(1):65–170.

Hashemi, H. B., Asiaee, A., and Kraft, R. (2016). Query intent detection using convolutional neural networks. In International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining, Workshop on Query Understanding.

Huang, P.-S., He, X., Gao, J., Deng, L., Acero, A., and Heck, L. (2013). Learning deep structured semantic models for web search using clickthrough data. In Proceedings of the 22nd ACM international conference on Information & Knowledge Management, pages 2333–2338.

Ive, J., Viani, N., Kam, J., Yin, L., Verma, S., Puntis, S., Cardinal, R. N., Roberts, A., Stewart, R., and Velupillai, S. (2020). Generation and evaluation of artificial mental health records for natural language processing. NPJ Digital Medicine, 3(1):1–9.

Peng, B., Zhu, C., Li, C., Li, X., Li, J., Zeng, M., and Gao, J. (2020). Few-shot natural language generation for task-oriented dialog. In Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020, pages 172–182, Online. Association for Computational Linguistics.

Shen, Y., He, X., Gao, J., Deng, L., and Mesnil, G. (2014). Learning semantic representations using convolutional neural networks for web search. In Proceedings of the 23rd international conference on world wide web, pages 373–374.

Souza, F., Nogueira, R., and Lotufo, R. (2020). BERTimbau: pretrained BERT models for Brazilian Portuguese. In 9th Brazilian Conference on Intelligent Systems, BRACIS, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, October 20-23 (to appear).

Tur, G., Deng, L., Hakkani-Tür, D., and He, X. (2012). Towards deeper understanding: Deep convex networks for semantic utterance classification. In 2012 IEEE international conference on acoustics, speech and signal processing (ICASSP), pages 5045–5048. IEEE.

Vaswani, A., Shazeer, N., Parmar, N., Uszkoreit, J., Jones, L., Gomez, A. N., Kaiser, ., and Polosukhin, I. (2017). Attention is all you need. In Advances in neural information processing systems, pages 5998–6008, Long Beach, Califórnia.
Como Citar

Selecione um Formato
PAULA, Robson T.; AGUIAR NETO, Décio G.; ROMERO, Davi; GUERRA, Paulo T.. Evaluation of Synthetic Datasets Generation for Intent Classification Tasks in Portuguese. In: SIMPÓSIO BRASILEIRO DE TECNOLOGIA DA INFORMAÇÃO E DA LINGUAGEM HUMANA (STIL), 13. , 2021, Evento Online. Anais [...]. Porto Alegre: Sociedade Brasileira de Computação, 2021 . p. 265-274. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5753/stil.2021.17806.