Collaborating Authors

Toward a Comprehension Challenge, Using Crowdsourcing as a Tool

AI Magazine

Human readers comprehend vastly more, and in vastly different ways, than any existing comprehension test would suggest. An ideal comprehension test for a story should cover the full range of questions and answers that humans would expect other humans to reasonably learn or infer from a given story. ICCG uses structured crowdsourcing to comprehensively generate relevant questions and supported answers for arbitrary stories, whether fiction or nonfiction, presented across a variety of media such as videos, podcasts, and still images. While the AI scientific community had hoped that by 2015 machines would be able to read and comprehend language, current models are typically superficial, capable of understanding sentences in limited domains (such as extracting movie times and restaurant locations from text) but without the sort of widecoverage comprehension that we expect of any teenager. Comprehension itself extends beyond the written word; most adults and children can comprehend a variety of narratives, both fiction and nonfiction, presented in a wide variety of formats, such as movies, television and radio programs, written stories, YouTube videos, still images, and cartoons.

What Happened? Leveraging VerbNet to Predict the Effects of Actions in Procedural Text Artificial Intelligence

Our goal is to answer questions about paragraphs describing processes (e.g., photosynthesis). Texts of this genre are challenging because the effects of actions are often implicit (unstated), requiring background knowledge and inference to reason about the changing world states. To supply this knowledge, we leverage VerbNet to build a rulebase (called the Semantic Lexicon) of the preconditions and effects of actions, and use it along with commonsense knowledge of persistence to answer questions about change. Our evaluation shows that our system, ProComp, significantly outperforms two strong reading comprehension (RC) baselines. Our contributions are two-fold: the Semantic Lexicon rulebase itself, and a demonstration of how a simulation-based approach to machine reading can outperform RC methods that rely on surface cues alone. Since this work was performed, we have developed neural systems that outperform ProComp, described elsewhere (Dalvi et al., NAACL'18). However, the Semantic Lexicon remains a novel and potentially useful resource, and its integration with neural systems remains a currently unexplored opportunity for further improvements in machine reading about processes.

How Harry Potter Is Contributing To Artificial Language Comprehension


The ability of machines to accurately comprehend written language took another step forward thanks, in part, to Harry Potter. What could this tale provide to the field of artificial intelligence? Artificial language comprehension may be improved by reading Harry Potter, if the results of a new study are developed. Maluuba is a Canadian company centered on teaching machines how to learn, and researchers there now utilize the works of J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was one of the hundreds of books studied by machines designed to study artificial intelligence.

A Psychology-Inspired Approach to Automated Narrative Text Comprehension

AAAI Conferences

We report on an ongoing research program to develop a formal framework for automated narrative text comprehension, bringing together know-how from research in Artificial Intelligence and the Psychology of Reading and Comprehension. It uses argumentation to capture appropriate solutions to the frame, ramification, and qualification problems, and their generalizations as required for text comprehension. In this first part of the study we concentrate on the central problem of integration of the explicit information from the text narrative with the reader's implicit commonsense world knowledge, and the associated tasks of elaboration and revision.