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  1. Several recent works have found the emergence of grounded com-positional language in the communication protocols developed bymostly cooperative multi-agent systems when learned end-to-endto maximize performance on a downstream task. However, humanpopulations learn to solve complex tasks involving communicativebehaviors not only in fully cooperative settings but also in scenar-ios where competition acts as an additional external pressure forimprovement. In this work, we investigate whether competitionfor performance from an external, similar agent team could actas a social influence that encourages multi-agent populations todevelop better communication protocols for improved performance,compositionality, and convergence speed. We start fromTask &Talk, a previously proposed referential game between two coopera-tive agents as our testbed and extend it intoTask, Talk & Compete,a game involving two competitive teams each consisting of twoaforementioned cooperative agents. Using this new setting, we pro-vide an empirical study demonstrating the impact of competitiveinfluence on multi-agent teams. Our results show that an externalcompetitive influence leads to improved accuracy and generaliza-tion, as well as faster emergence of communicative languages thatare more informative and compositional.
  2. As natural language processing methods are increasingly deployed in real-world scenarios such as healthcare, legal systems, and social science, it becomes necessary to recognize the role they potentially play in shaping social biases and stereotypes. Previous work has revealed the presence of social biases in widely used word embeddings involving gender, race, religion, and other social constructs. While some methods were proposed to debias these word-level embeddings, there is a need to perform debiasing at the sentence-level given the recent shift towards new contextualized sentence representations such as ELMo and BERT. In this paper, we investigate the presence of social biases in sentence-level representations and propose a new method, Sent-Debias, to reduce these biases. We show that Sent-Debias is effective in removing biases, and at the same time, preserves performance on sentence-level downstream tasks such as sentiment analysis, linguistic acceptability, and natural language understanding. We hope that our work will inspire future research on characterizing and removing social biases from widely adopted sentence representations for fairer NLP.
  3. Transfer learning using ImageNet pre-trained models has been the de facto approach in a wide range of computer vision tasks. However, fine-tuning still requires task-specific training data. In this paper, we propose N3 (Neural Networks from Natural Language) - a new paradigm of synthesizing task-specific neural networks from language descriptions and a generic pre-trained model. N3 leverages language descriptions to generate parameter adaptations as well as a new task-specific classification layer for a pre-trained neural network, effectively “fine-tuning” the network for a new task using only language descriptions as input. To the best of our knowledge, N3 is the first method to synthesize entire neural networks from natural language. Experimental results show that N3 can out-perform previous natural-language based zero-shot learning methods across 4 different zero-shot image classification benchmarks. We also demonstrate a simple method to help identify keywords in language descriptions leveraged by N3 when synthesizing model parameters.
  4. Recent Transformer-based contextual word representations, including BERT and XLNet, have shown state-of-the-art performance in multiple disciplines within NLP. Fine-tuning the trained contextual models on task-specific datasets has been the key to achieving superior performance downstream. While fine-tuning these pre-trained models is straightforward for lexical applications (applications with only language modality), it is not trivial for multimodal language (a growing area in NLP focused on modeling face-to-face communication). More specifically, this is due to the fact that pre-trained models don’t have the necessary components to accept two extra modalities of vision and acoustic. In this paper, we proposed an attachment to BERT and XLNet called Multimodal Adaptation Gate (MAG). MAG allows BERT and XLNet to accept multimodal nonverbal data during fine-tuning. It does so by generating a shift to internal representation of BERT and XLNet; a shift that is conditioned on the visual and acoustic modalities. In our experiments, we study the commonly used CMU-MOSI and CMU-MOSEI datasets for multimodal sentiment analysis. Fine-tuning MAG-BERT and MAG-XLNet significantly boosts the sentiment analysis performance over previous baselines as well as language-only fine-tuning of BERT and XLNet. On the CMU-MOSI dataset, MAG-XLNet achieves human-level multimodal sentiment analysis performance for the first time in themore »NLP community.« less
  5. Knowing how much to trust a prediction is important for many critical applications. We describe two simple approaches to estimate uncertainty in regression prediction tasks and compare their performance and complexity against popular approaches. We operationalize uncertainty in regression as the absolute error between a model's prediction and the ground truth. Our two proposed approaches use a secondary model to predict the uncertainty of a primary predictive model. Our first approach leverages the assumption that similar observations are likely to have similar uncertainty and predicts uncertainty with a non-parametric method. Our second approach trains a secondary model to directly predict the uncertainty of the primary predictive model. Both approaches outperform other established uncertainty estimation approaches on the MNIST, DISFA, and BP4D+ datasets. Furthermore, we observe that approaches that directly predict the uncertainty generally perform better than approaches that indirectly estimate uncertainty.