Keywords: variational autoencoders, generative models, language, vision, abstraction, compositionality, hierarchy
TL;DR: A VAE-variant which can create diverse images corresponding to novel concrete or abstract "concepts" described using attribute vectors.
Abstract: It is easy for people to imagine what a man with pink hair looks like, even if they have never seen such a person before. We call the ability to create images of novel semantic concepts visually grounded imagination. In this paper, we show how we can modify variational auto-encoders to perform this task. Our method uses a novel training objective, and a novel product-of-experts inference network, which can handle partially specified (abstract) concepts in a principled and efficient way. We also propose a set of easy-to-compute evaluation metrics that capture our intuitive notions of what it means to have good visual imagination, namely correctness, coverage, and compositionality (the 3 C’s). Finally, we perform a detailed comparison of our method with two existing joint image-attribute VAE methods (the JMVAE method of Suzuki et al., 2017 and the BiVCCA method of Wang et al., 2016) by applying them to two datasets: the MNIST-with-attributes dataset (which we introduce here), and the CelebA dataset (Liu et al., 2015).