Emergent Linguistic Phenomena in Multi-Agent Communication Games

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Authors: Laura Graesser,Kyunghyun Cho,Douwe Kiela
Where published: IJCNLP 2019 11
ArXiv: 1901.08706
Document:  PDF  DOI 
Abstract URL: https://arxiv.org/abs/1901.08706v2

In this work, we propose a computational framework in which agents equipped with communication capabilities simultaneously play a series of referential games, where agents are trained using deep reinforcement learning. We demonstrate that the framework mirrors linguistic phenomena observed in natural language: i) the outcome of contact between communities is a function of inter- and intra-group connectivity; ii) linguistic contact either converges to the majority protocol, or in balanced cases leads to novel creole languages of lower complexity; and iii) a linguistic continuum emerges where neighboring languages are more mutually intelligible than farther removed languages. We conclude that intricate properties of language evolution need not depend on complex evolved linguistic capabilities, but can emerge from simple social exchanges between perceptually-enabled agents playing communication games.

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