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Conference Papers Year : 2022

Socially Supervised Representation Learning: the Role of Subjectivity in Learning Efficient Representations

Abstract

Despite its rise as a prominent solution to the data inefficiency of today's machine learning models, self-supervised learning has yet to be studied from a purely multi-agent perspective. In this work, we propose that aligning internal subjective representations, which naturally arise in a multi-agent setup where agents receive partial observations of the same underlying environmental state, can lead to more data-efficient representations. We propose that multi-agent environments, where agents do not have access to the observations of others but can communicate within a limited range, guarantees a common context that can be leveraged in individual representation learning. The reason is that subjective observations necessarily refer to the same subset of the underlying environmental states and that communication about these states can freely offer a supervised signal. To highlight the importance of communication, we refer to our setting as \textit{socially supervised representation learning}. We present a minimal architecture comprised of a population of autoencoders, where we define loss functions, capturing different aspects of effective communication, and examine their effect on the learned representations. We show that our proposed architecture allows the emergence of aligned representations. The subjectivity introduced by presenting agents with distinct perspectives of the environment state contributes to learning abstract representations that outperform those learned by a single autoencoder and a population of autoencoders, presented with identical perspectives of the environment state. Altogether, our results demonstrate how communication from subjective perspectives can lead to the acquisition of more abstract representations in multi-agent systems, opening promising perspectives for future research at the intersection of representation learning and emergent communication.
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Dates and versions

hal-03403459 , version 1 (22-11-2021)
hal-03403459 , version 2 (24-05-2022)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03403459 , version 2

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Julius Taylor, Eleni Nisioti, Clément Moulin-Frier. Socially Supervised Representation Learning: the Role of Subjectivity in Learning Efficient Representations. International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, May 2022, Auckland, New Zealand. ⟨hal-03403459v2⟩
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