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Rediscovering Affordance: A Reinforcement Learning Perspective

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Affordance refers to the perception of possible actions allowed by an object. Despite its relevance to human-computer interaction, no existing theory explains the mechanisms that underpin affordance-formation; that is, how affordances are discovered and adapted via interaction. We propose an integrative theory of affordance-formation based on the theory of reinforcement learning in cognitive sciences. The key assumption is that users learn to associate promising motor actions to percepts via experience when reinforcement signals (success/failure) are present. They also learn to categorize actions (e.g., "rotating" a dial), giving them the ability to name and reason about affordance. Upon encountering novel widgets, their ability to generalize these actions determines their ability to perceive affordances. We implement this theory in a virtual robot model, which demonstrates human-like adaptation of affordance in interactive widgets tasks. While its predictions align with trends in human data, humans are able to adapt affordances faster, suggesting the existence of additional mechanisms.


Challenges of Artificial Intelligence -- From Machine Learning and Computer Vision to Emotional Intelligence

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a part of everyday conversation and our lives. It is considered as the new electricity that is revolutionizing the world. AI is heavily invested in both industry and academy. However, there is also a lot of hype in the current AI debate. AI based on so-called deep learning has achieved impressive results in many problems, but its limits are already visible. AI has been under research since the 1940s, and the industry has seen many ups and downs due to over-expectations and related disappointments that have followed. The purpose of this book is to give a realistic picture of AI, its history, its potential and limitations. We believe that AI is a helper, not a ruler of humans. We begin by describing what AI is and how it has evolved over the decades. After fundamentals, we explain the importance of massive data for the current mainstream of artificial intelligence. The most common representations for AI, methods, and machine learning are covered. In addition, the main application areas are introduced. Computer vision has been central to the development of AI. The book provides a general introduction to computer vision, and includes an exposure to the results and applications of our own research. Emotions are central to human intelligence, but little use has been made in AI. We present the basics of emotional intelligence and our own research on the topic. We discuss super-intelligence that transcends human understanding, explaining why such achievement seems impossible on the basis of present knowledge,and how AI could be improved. Finally, a summary is made of the current state of AI and what to do in the future. In the appendix, we look at the development of AI education, especially from the perspective of contents at our own university.


A Review of Dialogue Systems: From Trained Monkeys to Stochastic Parrots

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In spoken dialogue systems, we aim to deploy artificial intelligence to build automated dialogue agents that can converse with humans. Dialogue systems are increasingly being designed to move beyond just imitating conversation and also improve from such interactions over time. In this survey, we present a broad overview of methods developed to build dialogue systems over the years. Different use cases for dialogue systems ranging from task-based systems to open domain chatbots motivate and necessitate specific systems. Starting from simple rule-based systems, research has progressed towards increasingly complex architectures trained on a massive corpus of datasets, like deep learning systems. Motivated with the intuition of resembling human dialogues, progress has been made towards incorporating emotions into the natural language generator, using reinforcement learning. While we see a trend of highly marginal improvement on some metrics, we find that limited justification exists for the metrics, and evaluation practices are not uniform. To conclude, we flag these concerns and highlight possible research directions.


A brief history of AI: how to prevent another winter (a critical review)

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The field of artificial intelligence (AI), regarded as one of the most enigmatic areas of science, has witnessed exponential growth in the past decade including a remarkably wide array of applications, having already impacted our everyday lives. Advances in computing power and the design of sophisticated AI algorithms have enabled computers to outperform humans in a variety of tasks, especially in the areas of computer vision and speech recognition. Yet, AI's path has never been smooth, having essentially fallen apart twice in its lifetime ('winters' of AI), both after periods of popular success ('summers' of AI). We provide a brief rundown of AI's evolution over the course of decades, highlighting its crucial moments and major turning points from inception to the present. In doing so, we attempt to learn, anticipate the future, and discuss what steps may be taken to prevent another 'winter'.


On the Opportunities and Risks of Foundation Models

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

AI is undergoing a paradigm shift with the rise of models (e.g., BERT, DALL-E, GPT-3) that are trained on broad data at scale and are adaptable to a wide range of downstream tasks. We call these models foundation models to underscore their critically central yet incomplete character. This report provides a thorough account of the opportunities and risks of foundation models, ranging from their capabilities (e.g., language, vision, robotics, reasoning, human interaction) and technical principles(e.g., model architectures, training procedures, data, systems, security, evaluation, theory) to their applications (e.g., law, healthcare, education) and societal impact (e.g., inequity, misuse, economic and environmental impact, legal and ethical considerations). Though foundation models are based on standard deep learning and transfer learning, their scale results in new emergent capabilities,and their effectiveness across so many tasks incentivizes homogenization. Homogenization provides powerful leverage but demands caution, as the defects of the foundation model are inherited by all the adapted models downstream. Despite the impending widespread deployment of foundation models, we currently lack a clear understanding of how they work, when they fail, and what they are even capable of due to their emergent properties. To tackle these questions, we believe much of the critical research on foundation models will require deep interdisciplinary collaboration commensurate with their fundamentally sociotechnical nature.


Learning off-road maneuver plans for autonomous vehicles

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

This thesis explores the benefits machine learning algorithms can bring to online planning and scheduling for autonomous vehicles in off-road situations. Mainly, we focus on typical problems of interest which include computing itineraries that meet certain objectives, as well as computing scheduling strategies to execute synchronized maneuvers with other vehicles. We present a range of learning-based heuristics to assist different itinerary planners. We show that these heuristics allow a significant increase in performance for optimal planners. Furthermore, in the case of approximate planning, we show that not only does the running time decrease, the quality of the itinerary found also becomes almost always better. Finally, in order to synthesize strategies to execute synchronized maneuvers, we propose a novel type of scheduling controllability and a learning-assisted algorithm. The proposed framework achieves significant improvement on known benchmarks in this controllability type over the performance of state-of-the-art works in a related controllability type. Moreover, it is able to find strategies on complex scheduling problems for which previous works fail to do so.


Core Challenges in Embodied Vision-Language Planning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Recent advances in the areas of multimodal machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) have led to the development of challenging tasks at the intersection of Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, and Embodied AI. Whereas many approaches and previous survey pursuits have characterised one or two of these dimensions, there has not been a holistic analysis at the center of all three. Moreover, even when combinations of these topics are considered, more focus is placed on describing, e.g., current architectural methods, as opposed to also illustrating high-level challenges and opportunities for the field. In this survey paper, we discuss Embodied Vision-Language Planning (EVLP) tasks, a family of prominent embodied navigation and manipulation problems that jointly use computer vision and natural language. We propose a taxonomy to unify these tasks and provide an in-depth analysis and comparison of the new and current algorithmic approaches, metrics, simulated environments, as well as the datasets used for EVLP tasks. Finally, we present the core challenges that we believe new EVLP works should seek to address, and we advocate for task construction that enables model generalizability and furthers real-world deployment.


Dive into Deep Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Just a few years ago, there were no legions of deep learning scientists developing intelligent products and services at major companies and startups. When the youngest among us (the authors) entered the field, machine learning did not command headlines in daily newspapers. Our parents had no idea what machine learning was, let alone why we might prefer it to a career in medicine or law. Machine learning was a forward-looking academic discipline with a narrow set of real-world applications. And those applications, e.g., speech recognition and computer vision, required so much domain knowledge that they were often regarded as separate areas entirely for which machine learning was one small component. Neural networks then, the antecedents of the deep learning models that we focus on in this book, were regarded as outmoded tools. In just the past five years, deep learning has taken the world by surprise, driving rapid progress in fields as diverse as computer vision, natural language processing, automatic speech recognition, reinforcement learning, and statistical modeling. With these advances in hand, we can now build cars that drive themselves with more autonomy than ever before (and less autonomy than some companies might have you believe), smart reply systems that automatically draft the most mundane emails, helping people dig out from oppressively large inboxes, and software agents that dominate the worldʼs best humans at board games like Go, a feat once thought to be decades away. Already, these tools exert ever-wider impacts on industry and society, changing the way movies are made, diseases are diagnosed, and playing a growing role in basic sciences--from astrophysics to biology.


From Motor Control to Team Play in Simulated Humanoid Football

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Intelligent behaviour in the physical world exhibits structure at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Although movements are ultimately executed at the level of instantaneous muscle tensions or joint torques, they must be selected to serve goals defined on much longer timescales, and in terms of relations that extend far beyond the body itself, ultimately involving coordination with other agents. Recent research in artificial intelligence has shown the promise of learning-based approaches to the respective problems of complex movement, longer-term planning and multi-agent coordination. However, there is limited research aimed at their integration. We study this problem by training teams of physically simulated humanoid avatars to play football in a realistic virtual environment. We develop a method that combines imitation learning, single- and multi-agent reinforcement learning and population-based training, and makes use of transferable representations of behaviour for decision making at different levels of abstraction. In a sequence of stages, players first learn to control a fully articulated body to perform realistic, human-like movements such as running and turning; they then acquire mid-level football skills such as dribbling and shooting; finally, they develop awareness of others and play as a team, bridging the gap between low-level motor control at a timescale of milliseconds, and coordinated goal-directed behaviour as a team at the timescale of tens of seconds. We investigate the emergence of behaviours at different levels of abstraction, as well as the representations that underlie these behaviours using several analysis techniques, including statistics from real-world sports analytics. Our work constitutes a complete demonstration of integrated decision-making at multiple scales in a physically embodied multi-agent setting. See project video at https://youtu.be/KHMwq9pv7mg.


Continual World: A Robotic Benchmark For Continual Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Continual learning (CL) -- the ability to continuously learn, building on previously acquired knowledge -- is a natural requirement for long-lived autonomous reinforcement learning (RL) agents. While building such agents, one needs to balance opposing desiderata, such as constraints on capacity and compute, the ability to not catastrophically forget, and to exhibit positive transfer on new tasks. Understanding the right trade-off is conceptually and computationally challenging, which we argue has led the community to overly focus on catastrophic forgetting. In response to these issues, we advocate for the need to prioritize forward transfer and propose Continual World, a benchmark consisting of realistic and meaningfully diverse robotic tasks built on top of Meta-World [52] as a testbed. Following an in-depth empirical evaluation of existing CL methods, we pinpoint their limitations and highlight unique algorithmic challenges in the RL setting. Our benchmark aims to provide a meaningful and computationally inexpensive challenge for the community and thus help better understand the performance of existing and future solutions.