Word-order biases in deep-agent emergent communication

Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL)


Sequence-processing neural networks led to remarkable progress on many NLP tasks. As a consequence, there has been increasing interest in understanding to what extent they process language as humans do. We aim here to uncover which biases such models display with respect to “natural” word-order constraints. We train models to communicate about paths in a simple gridworld, using miniature languages that reflect or violate various natural language trends, such as the tendency to avoid redundancy or to minimize long-distance dependencies. We study how the controlled characteristics of our miniature languages affect individual learning and their stability across multiple network generations. The results draw a mixed picture. On the one hand, neural networks show a strong tendency to avoid long-distance dependencies. On the other hand, there is no clear preference for the efficient, non-redundant encoding of information that is widely attested in natural language. We thus suggest inoculating a notion of “effort” into neural networks, as a possible way to make their linguistic behaviour more human-like.

Related Publications

All Publications

Interspeech - October 12, 2021

LiRA: Learning Visual Speech Representations from Audio through Self-supervision

Pingchuan Ma, Rodrigo Mira, Stavros Petridis, Björn W. Schuller, Maja Pantic

ICML - July 18, 2021

Latency-Aware Neural Architecture Search with Multi-Objective Bayesian Optimization

David Eriksson, Pierce I-Jen Chuang, Samuel Daulton, Peng Xia, Akshat Shrivastava, Arun Babu, Shicong Zhao, Ahmed Aly, Ganesh Venkatesh, Maximilian Balandat

IEEE Transactions on Image Processing Journal - March 9, 2021

Inspirational Adversarial Image Generation

Baptiste Rozière, Morgane Rivière, Olivier Teytaud, Jérémy Rapin, Yann LeCun, Camille Couprie

ICML - July 12, 2020

Lookahead-Bounded Q-Learning

Ibrahim El Shar, Daniel Jiang

To help personalize content, tailor and measure ads, and provide a safer experience, we use cookies. By clicking or navigating the site, you agree to allow our collection of information on and off Facebook through cookies. Learn more, including about available controls: Cookies Policy