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I am trying to build an encoder-decoder model for a text style transfer problem. The problem is I don't have parallel data between the two styles so I need to train the model in an unsupervised setting.

Some papers I have seen use an auto-encoder to train the encoder and decoder components separately. By setting the problem as an auto-encoder, they can train the decoder by passing the target sequence (equal to the input sequence) into the decoder. (Here are some examples, https://arxiv.org/pdf/1711.06861.pdf, https://arxiv.org/pdf/1804.04003.pdf)

Instead of an auto-encoder, I would like to know if it's possible to train a decoder by feeding its predictions at time, t-1, into the input at time-step t. I would pass the generated output into a classifier to check the style and to obtain a training signal. Is this sensible and what are the pros / cons of doing so? Thanks.

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I would like to know if it's possible to train a decoder by feeding its predictions at time, t-1, into the input at time-step t.

Yes, it is possible to do it.

But I don't see why you would do it.

Υou will have accumulated error propagated and amplified in every new prediction, making your prediction to diverge from the ground truth sooner or later.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer. I understand your point about why the error would be propagated. The reason I am considering it is because I don't have a ground truth to input to the decoder. $\endgroup$ – Physbox Jul 8 '18 at 22:39
  • $\begingroup$ it is like an open-loop control system :) $\endgroup$ – pcko1 Jul 8 '18 at 22:41

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