Entropy Minimization In Emergent Languages

Part of Proceedings of the International Conference on Machine Learning 1 pre-proceedings (ICML 2020)

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Eugene Kharitonov, Rahma Chaabouni, Diane Bouchacourt, Marco Baroni


<p>There is a growing interest in studying the languages emerging when neural agents are jointly trained to solve tasks requiring communication through a discrete channel. We investigate here the information-theoretic complexity of such languages, focusing on the basic two-agent, one-exchange setup. We find that, under common training procedures, the emergent languages are subject to an entropy minimization pressure that has also been detected in human language, whereby the mutual information between the communicating agent's inputs and the messages is minimized, within the range afforded by the need for successful communication. This pressure is amplified as we increase communication channel discreteness. Further, we observe that stronger discrete-channel-driven entropy minimization leads to representations with increased robustness to overfitting and adversarial attacks. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for the study of natural and artificial communication systems.</p>