Evaluating Multimodal Representations on Visual Semantic Textual Similarity

The combination of visual and textual representations has produced excellent results in tasks such as image captioning and visual question answering, but the inference capabilities of multimodal representations are largely untested. In the case of textual representations, inference tasks such as Textual Entailment and Semantic Textual Similarity have been often used to benchmark the quality of textual representations. The long term goal of our research is to devise multimodal representation techniques that improve current inference capabilities. We thus present a novel task, Visual Semantic Textual Similarity (vSTS), where such inference ability can be tested directly. Given two items comprised each by an image and its accompanying caption, vSTS systems need to assess the degree to which the captions in context are semantically equivalent to each other. Our experiments using simple multimodal representations show that the addition of image representations produces better inference, compared to text-only representations. The improvement is observed both when directly computing the similarity between the representations of the two items, and when learning a siamese network based on vSTS training data. Our work shows, for the first time, the successful contribution of visual information to textual inference, with ample room for benchmarking more complex multimodal representation options.
Oier Lopez de Lacalle, Ander Salaberria, Aitor Soroa, Gorka Azkune and Eneko Agirre
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Proceedings of the Twenty-third European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, ECAI 2020, June 8-12, 2020, Santiago Compostela, Spain

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