Keywords: emergent communication, reference, covert signaling
TL;DR: We train emergent communication agents to develop covert signaling protocols for playing an adversarial reference game.
Abstract: Emergent communication is often studied in dyadic, fully-cooperative reference games, yet many real-world scenarios involve multiparty communication in adversarial settings. We introduce an adversarial reference game, where a speaker and listener must learn to generate referring expressions without leaking information to an adversary, and study the ability of emergent communication systems to learn covert signaling protocols on this task. We show that agents can develop covert signaling when given access to additional training time or shared knowledge over the adversary. Finally, we show that adversarial training results in the emergent languages having fewer and more polysemous messages.