One of the most challenging topics in Natural Language Processing (NLP) is visually-grounded language understanding and reasoning. Outdoor vision-and-language navigation (VLN) is such a task where an agent follows natural language instructions and navigates in real-life urban environments. With the lack of human-annotated instructions that illustrate the intricate urban scenes, outdoor VLN remains a challenging task to solve. In this paper, we introduce a Multimodal Text Style Transfer (MTST) learning approach and leverage external multimodal resources to mitigate data scarcity in outdoor navigation tasks. We first enrich the navigation data by transferring the style of the instructions generated by Google Maps API, then pre-train the navigator with the augmented external outdoor navigation dataset. Experimental results show that our MTST learning approach is model-agnostic, and our MTST approach significantly outperforms the baseline models on the outdoor VLN task, improving task completion rate by 8.7% relatively on the test set.
A major challenge in visually grounded language generation is to build robust benchmark datasets and models that can generalize well in real-world settings. To do this, it is critical to ensure that our evaluation protocols are correct, and benchmarks are reliable. In this work, we set forth to design a set of experiments to understand an important but often ignored problem in visually grounded language generation: given that humans have different utilities and visual attention, how will the sample variance in multi-reference datasets affect the models’ performance? Empirically, we study several multi-reference datasets and corresponding vision-and-language tasks. We show that it is of paramount importance to report variance in experiments; that human-generated references could vary drastically in different datasets/tasks, revealing the nature of each task; that metric-wise, CIDEr has shown systematically larger variances than others. Our evaluations on reference-per-instance shed light on the design of reliable datasets in the future.
How much does “free shipping!” help an advertisement’s ability to persuade? This paper presents two methods for performance attribution: finding the degree to which an outcome can be attributed to parts of a text while controlling for potential confounders. Both algorithms are based on interpreting the behaviors and parameters of trained neural networks. One method uses a CNN to encode the text, an adversarial objective function to control for confounders, and projects its weights onto its activations to interpret the importance of each phrase towards each output class. The other method leverages residualization to control for confounds and performs interpretation by aggregating over learned word vectors. We demonstrate these algorithms’ efficacy on 118,000 internet search advertisements and outcomes, finding language indicative of high and low click through rate (CTR) regardless of who the ad is by or what it is for. Our results suggest the proposed algorithms are high performance and data efficient, able to glean actionable insights from fewer than 10,000 data points. We find that quick, easy, and authoritative language is associated with success, while lackluster embellishment is related to failure. These findings agree with the advertising industry’s emperical wisdom, automatically revealing insights which previously required manual A/B testing to discover.