Amit Parekh


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Multitask Multimodal Prompted Training for Interactive Embodied Task Completion
Georgios Pantazopoulos | Malvina Nikandrou | Amit Parekh | Bhathiya Hemanthage | Arash Eshghi | Ioannis Konstas | Verena Rieser | Oliver Lemon | Alessandro Suglia
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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.

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iLab at SemEval-2023 Task 11 Le-Wi-Di: Modelling Disagreement or Modelling Perspectives?
Nikolas Vitsakis | Amit Parekh | Tanvi Dinkar | Gavin Abercrombie | Ioannis Konstas | Verena Rieser
Proceedings of the 17th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2023)

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.


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Demonstrating EMMA: Embodied MultiModal Agent for Language-guided Action Execution in 3D Simulated Environments
Alessandro Suglia | Bhathiya Hemanthage | Malvina Nikandrou | George Pantazopoulos | Amit Parekh | Arash Eshghi | Claudio Greco | Ioannis Konstas | Oliver Lemon | Verena Rieser
Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

We demonstrate EMMA, an embodied multimodal agent which has been developed for the Alexa Prize SimBot challenge. The agent acts within a 3D simulated environment for household tasks. EMMA is a unified and multimodal generative model aimed at solving embodied tasks. In contrast to previous work, our approach treats multiple multimodal tasks as a single multimodal conditional text generation problem, where a model learns to output text given both language and visual input. Furthermore, we showcase that a single generative agent can solve tasks with visual inputs of varying length, such as answering questions about static images, or executing actions given a sequence of previous frames and dialogue utterances. The demo system will allow users to interact conversationally with EMMA in embodied dialogues in different 3D environments from the TEACh dataset.


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The Spoon Is in the Sink: Assisting Visually Impaired People in the Kitchen
Katie Baker | Amit Parekh | Adrien Fabre | Angus Addlesee | Ruben Kruiper | Oliver Lemon
Proceedings of the Reasoning and Interaction Conference (ReInAct 2021)

Visual Question Answering (VQA) systems are increasingly adept at a variety of tasks, and this technology can be used to assist blind and partially sighted people. To do this, the system’s responses must not only be accurate, but usable. It is also vital for assistive technologies to be designed with a focus on: (1) privacy, as the camera may capture a user’s mail, medication bottles, or other sensitive information; (2) transparency, so that the system’s behaviour can be explained and trusted by users; and (3) controllability, to tailor the system for a particular domain or user group. We have therefore extended a conversational VQA framework, called Aye-saac, with these objectives in mind. Specifically, we gave Aye-saac the ability to answer visual questions in the kitchen, a particularly challenging area for visually impaired people. Our system can now answer questions about quantity, positioning, and system confidence in regards to 299 kitchen objects. Questions about the spatial relations between these objects are particularly helpful to visually impaired people, and our system output more usable answers than other state of the art end-to-end VQA systems.