Life is a Circus and We are the Clowns: Automatically Finding Analogies between Situations and Processes

Oren Sultan, Dafna Shahaf

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Analogy-making gives rise to reasoning, abstraction, flexible categorization and counter-factual inference - abilities lacking in even the best AI systems today. Much research has suggested that analogies are key to non-brittle systems that can adapt to new domains. Despite their importance, analogies received little attention in the NLP community, with most research focusing on simple word analogies. Work that tackled more complex analogies relied heavily on manually constructed, hard-to-scale input representations. In this work, we explore a more realistic, challenging setup: our input is a pair of natural language procedural texts, describing a situation or a process (e.g., how the heart works/how a pump works). Our goal is to automatically extract entities and their relations from the text and find a mapping between the different domains based on relational similarity (e.g., blood is mapped to water). We develop an interpretable, scalable algorithm and demonstrate that it identifies the correct mappings 87% of the time for procedural texts and 94% for stories from cognitive-psychology literature. We show it can extract analogies from a large dataset of procedural texts, achieving 79% precision (analogy prevalence in data: 3%). Lastly, we demonstrate that our algorithm is robust to paraphrasing the input texts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages3547-3562
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2022
Event2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2022 - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 7 Dec 202211 Dec 2022

Conference

Conference2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates
CityAbu Dhabi
Period7/12/2211/12/22

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Association for Computational Linguistics.

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