Ziqiao Ma


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Towards A Holistic Landscape of Situated Theory of Mind in Large Language Models
Ziqiao Ma | Jacob Sansom | Run Peng | Joyce Chai
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Large Language Models (LLMs) have generated considerable interest and debate regarding their potential emergence of Theory of Mind (ToM). Several recent inquiries reveal a lack of robust ToM in these models and pose a pressing demand to develop new benchmarks, as current ones primarily focus on different aspects of ToM and are prone to shortcuts and data leakage. In this position paper, we seek to answer two road-blocking questions: (1) How can we taxonomize a holistic landscape of machine ToM? (2) What is a more effective evaluation protocol for machine ToM? Following psychological studies, we taxonomize machine ToM into 7 mental state categories and delineate existing benchmarks to identify under-explored aspects of ToM. We argue for a holistic and situated evaluation of ToM to break ToM into individual components and treat LLMs as an agent who is physically situated in environments and socially situated in interactions with humans. Such situated evaluation provides a more comprehensive assessment of mental states and potentially mitigates the risk of shortcuts and data leakage. We further present a pilot study in a grid world setup as a proof of concept. We hope this position paper can facilitate future research to integrate ToM with LLMs and offer an intuitive means for researchers to better position their work in the landscape of ToM.

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World-to-Words: Grounded Open Vocabulary Acquisition through Fast Mapping in Vision-Language Models
Ziqiao Ma | Jiayi Pan | Joyce Chai
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

The ability to connect language units to their referents in the physical world, referred to as grounding, is crucial to learning and understanding grounded meanings of words. While humans demonstrate fast mapping in new word learning, it remains unclear whether modern vision-language models can truly represent language with their grounded meanings, and how grounding may further bootstrap new word learning. To this end, we introduce Grounded Open Vocabulary Acquisition (GOVA) to examine grounding and bootstrapping in open-world language learning. As an initial attempt, we propose World-to-Words (W2W), a novel visually-grounded language model by pre-training on image-text pairs highlighting grounding as an objective. Through extensive experiments and analysis, we demonstrate that W2W is a more coherent and fast grounded word learner, and that the grounding ability acquired during pre-training helps the model to learn unseen words more rapidly and robustly.

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NLP Reproducibility For All: Understanding Experiences of Beginners
Shane Storks | Keunwoo Yu | Ziqiao Ma | Joyce Chai
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

As natural language processing (NLP) has recently seen an unprecedented level of excitement, and more people are eager to enter the field, it is unclear whether current research reproducibility efforts are sufficient for this group of beginners to apply the latest developments. To understand their needs, we conducted a study with 93 students in an introductory NLP course, where students reproduced the results of recent NLP papers. Surprisingly, we find that their programming skill and comprehension of research papers have a limited impact on their effort spent completing the exercise. Instead, we find accessibility efforts by research authors to be the key to success, including complete documentation, better coding practice, and easier access to data files. Going forward, we recommend that NLP researchers pay close attention to these simple aspects of open-sourcing their work, and use insights from beginners’ feedback to provide actionable ideas on how to better support them.


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DOROTHIE: Spoken Dialogue for Handling Unexpected Situations in Interactive Autonomous Driving Agents
Ziqiao Ma | Benjamin VanDerPloeg | Cristian-Paul Bara | Yidong Huang | Eui-In Kim | Felix Gervits | Matthew Marge | Joyce Chai
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

In the real world, autonomous driving agents navigate in highly dynamic environments full of unexpected situations where pre-trained models are unreliable. In these situations, what is immediately available to vehicles is often only human operators. Empowering autonomous driving agents with the ability to navigate in a continuous and dynamic environment and to communicate with humans through sensorimotor-grounded dialogue becomes critical. To this end, we introduce Dialogue On the ROad To Handle Irregular Events (DOROTHIE), a novel interactive simulation platform that enables the creation of unexpected situations on the fly to support empirical studies on situated communication with autonomous driving agents. Based on this platform, we created the Situated Dialogue Navigation (SDN), a navigation benchmark of 183 trials with a total of 8415 utterances, around 18.7 hours of control streams, and 2.9 hours of trimmed audio. SDN is developed to evaluate the agent’s ability to predict dialogue moves from humans as well as generate its own dialogue moves and physical navigation actions. We further developed a transformer-based baseline model for these SDN tasks. Our empirical results indicate that language guided-navigation in a highly dynamic environment is an extremely difficult task for end-to-end models. These results will provide insight towards future work on robust autonomous driving agents

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DANLI: Deliberative Agent for Following Natural Language Instructions
Yichi Zhang | Jianing Yang | Jiayi Pan | Shane Storks | Nikhil Devraj | Ziqiao Ma | Keunwoo Yu | Yuwei Bao | Joyce Chai
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Recent years have seen an increasing amount of work on embodied AI agents that can perform tasks by following human language instructions. However, most of these agents are reactive, meaning that they simply learn and imitate behaviors encountered in the training data. These reactive agents are insufficient for long-horizon complex tasks. To address this limitation, we propose a neuro-symbolic deliberative agent that, while following language instructions, proactively applies reasoning and planning based on its neural and symbolic representations acquired from past experience (e.g., natural language and egocentric vision). We show that our deliberative agent achieves greater than 70% improvement over reactive baselines on the challenging TEACh benchmark. Moreover, the underlying reasoning and planning processes, together with our modular framework, offer impressive transparency and explainability to the behaviors of the agent. This enables an in-depth understanding of the agent’s capabilities, which shed light on challenges and opportunities for future embodied agents for instruction following. The code is available at https://github.com/sled-group/DANLI.