Active Reasoning in an Open-World Environment

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Manjie Xu, Guangyuan Jiang, Wei Liang, Chi Zhang, Yixin Zhu


Recent advances in vision-language learning have achieved notable success on complete-information question-answering datasets through the integration of extensive world knowledge. Yet, most models operate passively, responding to questions based on pre-stored knowledge. In stark contrast, humans possess the ability to actively explore, accumulate, and reason using both newfound and existing information to tackle incomplete-information questions. In response to this gap, we introduce Conan, an interactive open-world environment devised for the assessment of active reasoning. Conan facilitates active exploration and promotes multi-round abductive inference, reminiscent of rich, open-world settings like Minecraft. Diverging from previous works that lean primarily on single-round deduction via instruction following, Conan compels agents to actively interact with their surroundings, amalgamating new evidence with prior knowledge to elucidate events from incomplete observations. Our analysis on \bench underscores the shortcomings of contemporary state-of-the-art models in active exploration and understanding complex scenarios. Additionally, we explore Abduction from Deduction, where agents harness Bayesian rules to recast the challenge of abduction as a deductive process. Through Conan, we aim to galvanize advancements in active reasoning and set the stage for the next generation of artificial intelligence agents adept at dynamically engaging in environments.