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Emergence of Pragmatics from Referential Game between Theory of Mind Agents

by   Luyao Yuan, et al.

Pragmatics studies how context can contribute to language meanings [1]. In human communication, language is never interpreted out of context, and sentences can usually convey more information than their literal meanings [2]. However, this mechanism is missing in most multi-agent systems [3, 4, 5, 6], restricting the communication efficiency and the capability of human-agent interaction. In this paper, we propose an algorithm, using which agents can spontaneously learn the ability to "read between lines" without any explicit hand-designed rules. We integrate the theory of mind (ToM) [7, 8] in a cooperative multi-agent pedagogical situation and propose an adaptive reinforcement learning (RL) algorithm to develop a communication protocol. ToM is a profound cognitive science concept, claiming that people regularly reason about other's mental states, including beliefs, goals, and intentions, to obtain performance advantage in competition, cooperation or coalition. With this ability, agents consider language as not only messages but also rational acts reflecting others' hidden states. Our experiments demonstrate the advantage of pragmatic protocols over non-pragmatic protocols. We also show the teaching complexity following the pragmatic protocol empirically approximates to recursive teaching dimension (RTD).


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