Köhn, Arne; Koller, Alexander

Talking about what is not there: Generating indefinite referring expressions in Minecraft

Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Natural Language Generation, Association for Computational Linguistics, pp. 1-10, Tokyo, Japan, 2019.

When generating technical instructions, it is often necessary to describe an object that does not exist yet. For example, an NLG system which explains how to build a house needs to generate sentences like “build a wall of height five to your left” and “now build a wall on the other side.”

Generating (indefinite) referring expressions to objects that do not exist yet is fundamentally different from generating the usual definite referring expressions, because the new object must be distinguished from an infinite set of possible alternatives. We formalize this problem and present an algorithm for generating such expressions, in the context of generating building instructions within the Minecraft video game.