Chen Shani


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How Did This Get Funded?! Automatically Identifying Quirky Scientific Achievements
Chen Shani | Nadav Borenstein | Dafna Shahaf
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Humor is an important social phenomenon, serving complex social and psychological functions. However, despite being studied for millennia humor is computationally not well understood, often considered an AI-complete problem. In this work, we introduce a novel setting in humor mining: automatically detecting funny and unusual scientific papers. We are inspired by the Ig Nobel prize, a satirical prize awarded annually to celebrate funny scientific achievements (example past winner: “Are cows more likely to lie down the longer they stand?”). This challenging task has unique characteristics that make it particularly suitable for automatic learning. We construct a dataset containing thousands of funny papers and use it to learn classifiers, combining findings from psychology and linguistics with recent advances in NLP. We use our models to identify potentially funny papers in a large dataset of over 630,000 articles. The results demonstrate the potential of our methods, and more broadly the utility of integrating state-of-the-art NLP methods with insights from more traditional disciplines


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Language (Re)modelling: Towards Embodied Language Understanding
Ronen Tamari | Chen Shani | Tom Hope | Miriam R L Petruck | Omri Abend | Dafna Shahaf
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

While natural language understanding (NLU) is advancing rapidly, today’s technology differs from human-like language understanding in fundamental ways, notably in its inferior efficiency, interpretability, and generalization. This work proposes an approach to representation and learning based on the tenets of embodied cognitive linguistics (ECL). According to ECL, natural language is inherently executable (like programming languages), driven by mental simulation and metaphoric mappings over hierarchical compositions of structures and schemata learned through embodied interaction. This position paper argues that the use of grounding by metaphoric reasoning and simulation will greatly benefit NLU systems, and proposes a system architecture along with a roadmap towards realizing this vision.