AIDL Weekly Issue #19 - Fact-Checking - Does Facebook AI Create Its Own Language?


Thoughts From Your Humble Curators

This weekend is the Forth of July long weekend. So news are getting lighter. Yet development of AI and deep learning never stops - we just learned that Prof. Bengo becomes "Officer of the Order of Canada", Prof. Ng is joining the board of; Frank Chen from a16z is telling us VC will not care about AI startups in few years. Of course, we all learned that "Not Hotdog" from Silicon Valley is an actual deep learning apps. All of these events are covered in this issue.

We also have two more new segments for you - The first is Fact-Checking. Routinely, we look at news posted on AIDL and decide if they are faked. This time we fact-check the claim "Facebook AI Created Its Own Unique Language", which is widely circulated from popular tech outlets last week.

Another interesting feature is "Member's Submission". This time we have Neel Shah, an active member of AIDL, tells us more about research trend in India.

As always if you like our newsletter, feel free to subscribe and forward it to your colleagues/friends!

Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning Weekly



Fact-Checking : "Facebook AI Created Its Own Unique Language"

This time we check the claim "Facebook AI Created Its Own Unique Language". Is it true? Did Facebook really create an AIese?

When you hear such extraordinary claims from popular outlets, you should be alerted and feel suspicious. The next thing you should do is to look at the sources. In this case, the paper referred to is "Deal or No Deal? End-to-End Learning for Negotiation Dialogue" by FAIR.

So what did Facebook researchers actually do? First of all, their goal was to create bots which can negotiate. What they do first is to train a seq2seq model based on an English database. Of course, such bots would speak English, rather than any made-up language such as Esperanto or Toki Pona.

What is this machine language everyone refers to then? As it turns out, the researchers find that

... that models trained to maximize the likelihood of human utterances can generate fluent language, but make comparatively poor negotiators, which are overly willing to compromise.

So they use different strategies to evolve the bot such that they are better in negotiation. Of course, this evolution would result in a slightly different language from English, but it is more appropriate to call it a speaking mode rather than a unique language. Calling it a unique language seems to imply a difference like between English and French. Yet the difference we see here is more like English we use in chatting versus in a business setting.

AIDL Weekly rate this claim as False.

(20170728: The original link of the paper hosted at Amazon s3 was gone, so we replace it with the more updated version, retrieved from arxiv, as of today.)

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