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Oral 1: AI Applications

Moderators: Michael Ryoo · Andrew Dai


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Mon 25 April 17:00 - 17:15 PDT

Language modeling via stochastic processes

Rose Wang · Esin Durmus · Noah Goodman · Tatsunori Hashimoto

Modern language models can generate high-quality short texts. However, they often meander or are incoherent when generating longer texts. These issues arise from the next-token-only language modeling objective. To address these issues, we introduce Time Control (TC), a language model that implicitly plans via a latent stochastic process. TC does this by learning a representation which maps the dynamics of how text changes in a document to the dynamics of a stochastic process of interest. Using this representation, the language model can generate text by first implicitly generating a document plan via a stochastic process, and then generating text that is consistent with this latent plan. Compared to domain-specific methods and fine-tuning GPT2 across a variety of text domains, TC improves performance on text infilling and discourse coherence. On long text generation settings, TC preserves the text structure both in terms of ordering (up to +40% better) and text length consistency (up to +17% better). Human evaluators also prefer TC's output 28.6% more than the baselines.

Mon 25 April 17:15 - 17:30 PDT

MIDI-DDSP: Detailed Control of Musical Performance via Hierarchical Modeling

Yusong Wu · Ethan Manilow · Yi Deng · Rigel Swavely · Kyle Kastner · Timotheus Cooijmans · Aaron Courville · Anna Huang · Jesse Engel

Musical expression requires control of both what notes that are played, and how they are performed. Conventional audio synthesizers provide detailed expressive controls, but at the cost of realism. Black-box neural audio synthesis and concatenative samplers can produce realistic audio, but have few mechanisms for control. In this work, we introduce MIDI-DDSP a hierarchical model of musical instruments that enables both realistic neural audio synthesis and detailed user control. Starting from interpretable Differentiable Digital Signal Processing (DDSP) synthesis parameters, we infer musical notes and high-level properties of their expressive performance (such as timbre, vibrato, dynamics, and articulation). This creates a 3-level hierarchy (notes, performance, synthesis) that affords individuals the option to intervene at each level, or utilize trained priors (performance given notes, synthesis given performance) for creative assistance. Through quantitative experiments and listening tests, we demonstrate that this hierarchy can reconstruct high-fidelity audio, accurately predict performance attributes for a note sequence, independently manipulate the attributes of a given performance, and as a complete system, generate realistic audio from a novel note sequence. By utilizing an interpretable hierarchy, with multiple levels of granularity, MIDI-DDSP opens the door to assistive tools to empower individuals across a diverse range of musical experience.

Mon 25 April 17:30 - 17:45 PDT

Real-Time Neural Voice Camouflage

Mia Chiquier · Chengzhi Mao · Carl Vondrick

Automatic speech recognition systems have created exciting possibilities for applications, however they also enable opportunities for systematic eavesdropping.We propose a method to camouflage a person's voice from these systems without inconveniencing the conversation between people in the room. Standard adversarial attacks are not effective in real-time streaming situations because the characteristics of the signal will have changed by the time the attack is executed. We introduce predictive adversarial attacks, which achieves real-time performance by forecasting the attack vector that will be the most effective in the future. Under real-time constraints, our method jams the established speech recognition system DeepSpeech 3.9x more than online projected gradient descent as measured through word error rate, and 6.6x more as measured through character error rate. We furthermore demonstrate our approach is practically effective in realistic environments with complex scene geometries.

Mon 25 April 17:45 - 18:00 PDT

ProtoRes: Proto-Residual Network for Pose Authoring via Learned Inverse Kinematics

Boris Oreshkin · Florent Bocquelet · Felix G. Harvey · Bay Raitt · Dominic Laflamme

Our work focuses on the development of a learnable neural representation of human pose for advanced AI assisted animation tooling. Specifically, we tackle the problem of constructing a full static human pose based on sparse and variable user inputs (e.g. locations and/or orientations of a subset of body joints). To solve this problem, we propose a novel neural architecture that combines residual connections with prototype encoding of a partially specified pose to create a new complete pose from the learned latent space. We show that our architecture outperforms a baseline based on Transformer, both in terms of accuracy and computational efficiency. Additionally, we develop a user interface to integrate our neural model in Unity, a real-time 3D development platform. Furthermore, we introduce two new datasets representing the static human pose modeling problem, based on high-quality human motion capture data, which will be released publicly along with model code.

Mon 25 April 18:00 - 18:15 PDT

Open-Set Recognition: A Good Closed-Set Classifier is All You Need

Sagar Vaze · Kai Han · Andrea Vedaldi · Andrew Zisserman

The ability to identify whether or not a test sample belongs to one of the semantic classes in a classifier's training set is critical to practical deployment of the model. This task is termed open-set recognition (OSR) and has received significant attention in recent years. In this paper, we first demonstrate that the ability of a classifier to make the 'none-of-above' decision is highly correlated with its accuracy on the closed-set classes. We find that this relationship holds across loss objectives and architectures, and further demonstrate the trend both on the standard OSR benchmarks as well as on a large-scale ImageNet evaluation. Second, we use this correlation to boost the performance of the maximum softmax probability OSR 'baseline' by improving its closed-set accuracy, and with this strong baseline achieve state-of-the-art on a number of OSR benchmarks. Similarly, we boost the performance of the existing state-of-the-art method by improving its closed-set accuracy, but the resulting discrepancy with the strong baseline is marginal. Our third contribution is to present the 'Semantic Shift Benchmark' (SSB), which better respects the task of detecting semantic novelty, as opposed to low-level distributional shifts as tackled by neighbouring machine learning fields. On this new evaluation, we again demonstrate that there is negligible difference between the strong baseline and the existing state-of-the-art. Code available at:

Mon 25 April 18:15 - 18:30 PDT

Vision-Based Manipulators Need to Also See from Their Hands

Kyle Hsu · Moo Kim · Rafael Rafailov · Jiajun Wu · Chelsea Finn

We study how the choice of visual perspective affects learning and generalization in the context of physical manipulation from raw sensor observations. Compared with the more commonly used global third-person perspective, a hand-centric (eye-in-hand) perspective affords reduced observability, but we find that it consistently improves training efficiency and out-of-distribution generalization. These benefits hold across a variety of learning algorithms, experimental settings, and distribution shifts, and for both simulated and real robot apparatuses. However, this is only the case when hand-centric observability is sufficient; otherwise, including a third-person perspective is necessary for learning, but also harms out-of-distribution generalization. To mitigate this, we propose to regularize the third-person information stream via a variational information bottleneck. On six representative manipulation tasks with varying hand-centric observability adapted from the Meta-World benchmark, this results in a state-of-the-art reinforcement learning agent operating from both perspectives improving its out-of-distribution generalization on every task. While some practitioners have long put cameras in the hands of robots, our work systematically analyzes the benefits of doing so and provides simple and broadly applicable insights for improving end-to-end learned vision-based robotic manipulation.