A number of recent works have proposed techniques for end-to-end learning of communication protocols among cooperative multi-agent populations, and have simultaneously found the emergence of grounded human-interpretable language in the protocols developed by the agents, all learned without any human supervision! In this paper, using a Task and Tell reference game between two agents as a testbed, we present a sequence of 'negative' results culminating in a 'positive' one -- showing that while most agent-invented languages are effective (i.e. achieve near-perfect task rewards), they are decidedly not interpretable or compositional. In essence, we find that natural language does not emerge 'naturally', despite the semblance of ease of natural-language-emergence that one may gather from recent literature. We discuss how it is possible to coax the invented languages to become more and more human-like and compositional by increasing restrictions on how two agents may communicate.
We introduce the first goal-driven training for visual question answering and dialog agents. Specifically, we pose a cooperative 'image guessing' game between two agents -- Qbot and Abot -- who communicate in natural language dialog so that Qbot can select an unseen image from a lineup of images. We use deep reinforcement learning (RL) to learn the policies of these agents end-to-end -- from pixels to multi-agent multi-round dialog to game reward. We demonstrate two experimental results. First, as a 'sanity check' demonstration of pure RL (from scratch), we show results on a synthetic world, where the agents communicate in ungrounded vocabulary, i.e., symbols with no pre-specified meanings (X, Y, Z). We find that two bots invent their own communication protocol and start using certain symbols to ask/answer about certain visual attributes (shape/color/style). Thus, we demonstrate the emergence of grounded language and communication among 'visual' dialog agents with no human supervision. Second, we conduct large-scale real-image experiments on the VisDial dataset, where we pretrain with supervised dialog data and show that the RL 'fine-tuned' agents significantly outperform SL agents. Interestingly, the RL Qbot learns to ask questions that Abot is good at, ultimately resulting in more informative dialog and a better team.
We study the problem of designing models for machine learning tasks defined on \emphsets. In contrast to traditional approach of operating on fixed dimensional vectors, we consider objective functions defined on sets that are invariant to permutations. Such problems are widespread, ranging from estimation of population statistics \citepoczos13aistats, to anomaly detection in piezometer data of embankment dams \citeJung15Exploration, to cosmology \citeNtampaka16Dynamical,Ravanbakhsh16ICML1. Our main theorem characterizes the permutation invariant functions and provides a family of functions to which any permutation invariant objective function must belong. This family of functions has a special structure which enables us to design a deep network architecture that can operate on sets and which can be deployed on a variety of scenarios including both unsupervised and supervised learning tasks. We also derive the necessary and sufficient conditions for permutation equivariance in deep models. We demonstrate the applicability of our method on population statistic estimation, point cloud classification, set expansion, and outlier detection.
We introduce the task of Visual Dialog, which requires an AI agent to hold a meaningful dialog with humans in natural, conversational language about visual content. Specifically, given an image, a dialog history, and a question about the image, the agent has to ground the question in image, infer context from history, and answer the question accurately. Visual Dialog is disentangled enough from a specific downstream task so as to serve as a general test of machine intelligence, while being grounded in vision enough to allow objective evaluation of individual responses and benchmark progress. We develop a novel two-person chat data-collection protocol to curate a large-scale Visual Dialog dataset (VisDial). VisDial v0.9 has been released and contains 1 dialog with 10 question-answer pairs on ~120k images from COCO, with a total of ~1.2M dialog question-answer pairs. We introduce a family of neural encoder-decoder models for Visual Dialog with 3 encoders -- Late Fusion, Hierarchical Recurrent Encoder and Memory Network -- and 2 decoders (generative and discriminative), which outperform a number of sophisticated baselines. We propose a retrieval-based evaluation protocol for Visual Dialog where the AI agent is asked to sort a set of candidate answers and evaluated on metrics such as mean-reciprocal-rank of human response. We quantify gap between machine and human performance on the Visual Dialog task via human studies. Putting it all together, we demonstrate the first 'visual chatbot'! Our dataset, code, trained models and visual chatbot are available on https://visualdialog.org
We propose a model to learn visually grounded word embeddings (vis-w2v) to capture visual notions of semantic relatedness. While word embeddings trained using text have been extremely successful, they cannot uncover notions of semantic relatedness implicit in our visual world. For instance, although "eats" and "stares at" seem unrelated in text, they share semantics visually. When people are eating something, they also tend to stare at the food. Grounding diverse relations like "eats" and "stares at" into vision remains challenging, despite recent progress in vision. We note that the visual grounding of words depends on semantics, and not the literal pixels. We thus use abstract scenes created from clipart to provide the visual grounding. We find that the embeddings we learn capture fine-grained, visually grounded notions of semantic relatedness. We show improvements over text-only word embeddings (word2vec) on three tasks: common-sense assertion classification, visual paraphrasing and text-based image retrieval. Our code and datasets are available online.