Köhn, Arne; Wichlacz, Julia; Torralba, Álvaro; Höller, Daniel; Hoffmann, Jörg; Koller, Alexander

Generating Instructions at Different Levels of Abstraction

Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics, International Committee on Computational Linguistics, pp. 2802-2813, Barcelona, Spain (Online), 2020.

When generating technical instructions, it is often convenient to describe complex objects in the world at different levels of abstraction. A novice user might need an object explained piece by piece, while for an expert, talking about the complex object (e.g. a wall or railing) directly may be more succinct and efficient. We show how to generate building instructions at different levels of abstraction in Minecraft. We introduce the use of hierarchical planning to this end, a method from AI planning which can capture the structure of complex objects neatly. A crowdsourcing evaluation shows that the choice of abstraction level matters to users, and that an abstraction strategy which balances low-level and high-level object descriptions compares favorably to ones which don’t.