Guiding Policies with Language via Meta-Learning

John D. Co-Reyes, Abhishek Gupta, Suvansh Sanjeev, Nick Altieri, Jacob Andreas, John DeNero, Pieter Abbeel, Sergey Levine

Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Behavioral skills or policies for autonomous agents are conventionally learned from reward functions, via reinforcement learning, or from demonstrations, via imitation learning. However, both modes of task specification have their disadvantages: reward functions require manual engineering, while demonstrations require a human expert to be able to actually perform the task in order to generate the demonstration. Instruction following from natural language instructions provides an appealing alternative: in the same way that we can specify goals to other humans simply by speaking or writing, we would like to be able to specify tasks for our machines. However, a single instruction may be insufficient to fully communicate our intent or, even if it is, may be insufficient for an autonomous agent to actually understand how to perform the desired task. In this work, we propose an interactive formulation of the task specification problem, where iterative language corrections are provided to an autonomous agent, guiding it in acquiring the desired skill. Our proposed language-guided policy learning algorithm can integrate an instruction and a sequence of corrections to acquire new skills very quickly. In our experiments, we show that this method can enable a policy to follow instructions and corrections for simulated navigation and manipulation tasks, substantially outperforming direct, non-interactive instruction following.
  • Keywords: meta-learning, language grounding, interactive
  • TL;DR: We propose a meta-learning method for interactively correcting policies with natural language.
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