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  1. Actions’ play a vital role in how humans interact with the world. Thus, autonomous agents that would assist us in everyday tasks also require the capability to perform ‘Reasoning about Actions & Change’ (RAC). This has been an important research direction in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in general, but the study of RAC with visual and linguistic inputs is relatively recent. The CLEVR_HYP is one such testbed for hypothetical vision-language reasoning with actions as the key focus. In this work, we propose a novel learning strategy that can improve reasoning about the effects of actions. We implement an encoder-decoder architecture to learn the representation of actions as vectors. We combine the aforementioned encoder-decoder architecture with existing modality parsers and a scene graph question answering model to evaluate our proposed system on the CLEVR_HYP dataset. We conduct thorough experiments to demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed approach and discuss its advantages over previous baselines in terms of performance, data efficiency, and generalization capability. 
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  2. Zong, Chengqing ; Xia, Fei ; Li, Wenjie ; Navigli, Roberto (Ed.)
    Methodologies for training visual question answering (VQA) models assume the availability of datasets with human-annotated ImageQuestion-Answer (I-Q-A) triplets. This has led to heavy reliance on datasets and a lack of generalization to new types of questions and scenes. Linguistic priors along with biases and errors due to annotator subjectivity have been shown to percolate into VQA models trained on such samples. We study whether models can be trained without any human-annotated Q-A pairs, but only with images and their associated textual descriptions or captions. We present a method to train models with synthetic Q-A pairs generated procedurally from captions. Additionally, we demonstrate the efficacy of spatial-pyramid image patches as a simple but effective alternative to dense and costly object bounding box annotations used in existing VQA models. Our experiments on three VQA benchmarks demonstrate the efficacy of this weakly-supervised approach, especially on the VQA-CP challenge, which tests performance under changing linguistic priors. 
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  3. Moens, Marie-Francine ; Huang, Xuanjing ; Specia, Lucia ; Yih, Scott Wen-tau (Ed.)
    Knowledge-based visual question answering (VQA) requires answering questions with external knowledge in addition to the content of images. One dataset that is mostly used in evaluating knowledge-based VQA is OK-VQA, but it lacks a gold standard knowledge corpus for retrieval. Existing work leverage different knowledge bases (e.g., ConceptNet and Wikipedia) to obtain external knowledge. Because of varying knowledge bases, it is hard to fairly compare models’ performance. To address this issue, we collect a natural language knowledge base that can be used for any VQA system. Moreover, we propose a Visual Retriever-Reader pipeline to approach knowledge-based VQA. The visual retriever aims to retrieve relevant knowledge, and the visual reader seeks to predict answers based on given knowledge. We introduce various ways to retrieve knowledge using text and images and two reader styles: classification and extraction. Both the retriever and reader are trained with weak supervision. Our experimental results show that a good retriever can significantly improve the reader’s performance on the OK-VQA challenge. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    While progress has been made on the visual question answering leaderboards, models often utilize spurious correlations and priors in datasets under the i.i.d. setting. As such, evaluation on out-of-distribution (OOD) test samples has emerged as a proxy for generalization. In this paper, we present \textit{MUTANT}, a training paradigm that exposes the model to perceptually similar, yet semantically distinct \textit{mutations} of the input, to improve OOD generalization, such as the VQA-CP challenge. Under this paradigm, models utilize a consistency-constrained training objective to understand the effect of semantic changes in input (question-image pair) on the output (answer). Unlike existing methods on VQA-CP, \textit{MUTANT} does not rely on the knowledge about the nature of train and test answer distributions. \textit{MUTANT} establishes a new state-of-the-art accuracy on VQA-CP with a 10.57{\%} improvement. Our work opens up avenues for the use of semantic input mutations for OOD generalization in question answering. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    Captioning is a crucial and challenging task for video understanding. In videos that involve active agents such as humans, the agent{'}s actions can bring about myriad changes in the scene. Observable changes such as movements, manipulations, and transformations of the objects in the scene, are reflected in conventional video captioning. Unlike images, actions in videos are also inherently linked to social aspects such as intentions (why the action is taking place), effects (what changes due to the action), and attributes that describe the agent. Thus for video understanding, such as when captioning videos or when answering questions about videos, one must have an understanding of these commonsense aspects. We present the first work on generating \textit{commonsense} captions directly from videos, to describe latent aspects such as intentions, effects, and attributes. We present a new dataset {``}Video-to-Commonsense (V2C){''} that contains {\textasciitilde}9k videos of human agents performing various actions, annotated with 3 types of commonsense descriptions. Additionally we explore the use of open-ended video-based commonsense question answering (V2C-QA) as a way to enrich our captions. Both the generation task and the QA task can be used to enrich video captions. 
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