Miss Tools and Mr Fruit: Emergent communication in agents learning about object affordances

Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL)

By: Diane Bouchacourt, Marco Baroni

Abstract

Recent research studies communication emergence in communities of deep network agents assigned a joint task, hoping to gain insights on human language evolution. We propose here a new task capturing crucial aspects of the human environment, such as natural object affordances, and of human conversation, such as full symmetry among the participants. By conducting a thorough pragmatic and semantic analysis of the emergent protocol, we show that the agents solve the shared task through genuine bilateral, referential communication. However, the agents develop multiple idiolects, which makes us conclude that full symmetry is not a sufficient condition for a common language to emerge.