Controllable Generative Modeling via Causal Reasoning

Published: 19 Dec 2022, Last Modified: 28 Feb 2023Accepted by TMLREveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Abstract: Deep latent variable generative models excel at generating complex, high-dimensional data, often exhibiting impressive generalization beyond the training distribution. However, many such models in use today are black-boxes trained on large unlabelled datasets with statistical objectives and lack an interpretable understanding of the latent space required for controlling the generative process. We propose CAGE, a framework for controllable generation in latent variable models based on causal reasoning. Given a pair of attributes, CAGE infers the implicit cause-effect relationships between these attributes as induced by a deep generative model. This is achieved by defining and estimating a novel notion of unit-level causal effects in the latent space of the generative model. Thereafter, we use the inferred cause-effect relationships to design a novel strategy for controllable generation based on counterfactual sampling. Through a series of large-scale synthetic and human evaluations, we demonstrate that generating counterfactual samples which respect the underlying causal relationships inferred via CAGE leads to subjectively more realistic images.
Submission Length: Regular submission (no more than 12 pages of main content)
Assigned Action Editor: ~Changyou_Chen1
License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Submission Number: 420