Interactive and embodied tasks pose at least two fundamental challenges to existing Vision & Language (VL) models, including 1) grounding language in trajectories of actions and observations, and 2) referential disambiguation. To tackle these challenges, we propose an Embodied MultiModal Agent (EMMA): a unified encoder-decoder model that reasons over images and trajectories, and casts action prediction as multimodal text generation. By unifying all tasks as text generation, EMMA learns a language of actions which facilitates transfer across tasks. Different to previous modular approaches with independently trained components, we use a single multitask model where each task contributes to goal completion. EMMA performs on par with similar models on several VL benchmarks and sets a new state-of-the-art performance (36.81% success rate) on the Dialog-guided Task Completion (DTC), a benchmark to evaluate dialog-guided agents in the Alexa Arena
Generative AI systems produce a range of risks. To ensure the safety of generative AI systems, these risks must be evaluated. In this paper, we make two main contributions toward establishing such evaluations. First, we propose a three-layered framework that takes a structured, sociotechnical approach to evaluating these risks. This framework encompasses capability evaluations, which are the main current approach to safety evaluation. It then reaches further by building on system safety principles, particularly the insight that context determines whether a given capability may cause harm. To account for relevant context, our framework adds human interaction and systemic impacts as additional layers of evaluation. Second, we survey the current state of safety evaluation of generative AI systems and create a repository of existing evaluations. Three salient evaluation gaps emerge from this analysis. We propose ways forward to closing these gaps, outlining practical steps as well as roles and responsibilities for different actors. Sociotechnical safety evaluation is a tractable approach to the robust and comprehensive safety evaluation of generative AI systems.
When giving directions to a lost-looking tourist, would you first reference the street-names, cardinal directions, landmarks, or simply tell them to walk five hundred metres in one direction then turn left? Depending on the circumstances, one could reasonably make use of any of these direction giving styles. However, research on direction giving with a robot does not often look at how these different direction styles impact perceptions of the robots intelligence, nor does it take into account how users prior dispositions may impact ratings. In this work, we look at generating natural language for two navigation styles using a created system for a Furhat robot, before measuring perceived intelligence and animacy alongside users prior dispositions to robots in a small preliminary study (N=7). Our results confirm findings by previous work that prior negative attitudes towards robots correlates negatively with propensity to trust robots, and also suggests avenues for future research. For example, more data is needed to explore the link between perceived intelligence and direction style. We end by discussing our plan to run a larger scale experiment, and how to improve our existing study design.
We demonstrate an embodied conversational agent that can function as a receptionist and generate a mixture of open and closed-domain dialogue along with facial expressions, by using a large language model (LLM) to develop an engaging conversation. We deployed the system onto a Furhat robot, which is highly expressive and capable of using both verbal and nonverbal cues during interaction. The system was designed specifically for the National Robotarium to interact with visitors through natural conversations, providing them with information about the facilities, research, news, upcoming events, etc. The system utilises the state-of-the-art GPT-3.5 model to generate such information along with domain-general conversations and facial expressions based on prompt engineering.
Counterspeech offers direct rebuttals to hateful speech by challenging perpetrators of hate and showing support to targets of abuse. It provides a promising alternative to more contentious measures, such as content moderation and deplatforming, by contributing a greater amount of positive online speech rather than attempting to mitigate harmful content through removal. Advances in the development of large language models mean that the process of producing counterspeech could be made more efficient by automating its generation, which would enable large-scale online campaigns. However, we currently lack a systematic understanding of several important factors relating to the efficacy of counterspeech for hate mitigation, such as which types of counterspeech are most effective, what are the optimal conditions for implementation, and which specific effects of hate it can best ameliorate. This paper aims to fill this gap by systematically reviewing counterspeech research in the social sciences and comparing methodologies and findings with computer science efforts in automatic counterspeech generation. By taking this multi-disciplinary view, we identify promising future directions in both fields.
Large language models are known to produce output which sounds fluent and convincing, but is also often wrong, e.g. "unfaithful" with respect to a rationale as retrieved from a knowledge base. In this paper, we show that task-based systems which exhibit certain advanced linguistic dialog behaviors, such as lexical alignment (repeating what the user said), are in fact preferred and trusted more, whereas other phenomena, such as pronouns and ellipsis are dis-preferred. We use open-domain question answering systems as our test-bed for task based dialog generation and compare several open- and closed-book models. Our results highlight the danger of systems that appear to be trustworthy by parroting user input while providing an unfaithful response.
There are two competing approaches for modelling annotator disagreement: distributional soft-labelling approaches (which aim to capture the level of disagreement) or modelling perspectives of individual annotators or groups thereof. We adapt a multi-task architecture -- which has previously shown success in modelling perspectives -- to evaluate its performance on the SEMEVAL Task 11. We do so by combining both approaches, i.e. predicting individual annotator perspectives as an interim step towards predicting annotator disagreement. Despite its previous success, we found that a multi-task approach performed poorly on datasets which contained distinct annotator opinions, suggesting that this approach may not always be suitable when modelling perspectives. Furthermore, our results explain that while strongly perspectivist approaches might not achieve state-of-the-art performance according to evaluation metrics used by distributional approaches, our approach allows for a more nuanced understanding of individual perspectives present in the data. We argue that perspectivist approaches are preferable because they enable decision makers to amplify minority views, and that it is important to re-evaluate metrics to reflect this goal.
Verification of machine learning models used in Natural Language Processing (NLP) is known to be a hard problem. In particular, many known neural network verification methods that work for computer vision and other numeric datasets do not work for NLP. Here, we study technical reasons that underlie this problem. Based on this analysis, we propose practical methods and heuristics for preparing NLP datasets and models in a way that renders them amenable to known verification methods based on abstract interpretation. We implement these methods as a Python library called ANTONIO that links to the neural network verifiers ERAN and Marabou. We perform evaluation of the tool using an NLP dataset R-U-A-Robot suggested as a benchmark for verifying legally critical NLP applications. We hope that, thanks to its general applicability, this work will open novel possibilities for including NLP verification problems into neural network verification competitions, and will popularise NLP problems within this community.
We report our efforts in identifying a set of previous human evaluations in NLP that would be suitable for a coordinated study examining what makes human evaluations in NLP more/less reproducible. We present our results and findings, which include that just 13\% of papers had (i) sufficiently low barriers to reproduction, and (ii) enough obtainable information, to be considered for reproduction, and that all but one of the experiments we selected for reproduction was discovered to have flaws that made the meaningfulness of conducting a reproduction questionable. As a result, we had to change our coordinated study design from a reproduce approach to a standardise-then-reproduce-twice approach. Our overall (negative) finding that the great majority of human evaluations in NLP is not repeatable and/or not reproducible and/or too flawed to justify reproduction, paints a dire picture, but presents an opportunity for a rethink about how to design and report human evaluations in NLP.