Conversational Neuro-Symbolic Commonsense Reasoning

Forough Arabshahi, Jennifer Lee, Mikayla Gawarecki, Kathryn Mazaitis, Amos Azaria, Tom Mitchell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In order for conversational AI systems to hold more natural and broad-ranging conversations, they will require much more commonsense, including the ability to identify unstated presumptions of their conversational partners. For example, in the command “If it snows at night then wake me up early because I don’t want to be late for work” the speaker relies on commonsense reasoning of the listener to infer the implicit presumption that they wish to be woken only if it snows enough to cause traffic slowdowns. We consider here the problem of understanding such imprecisely stated natural language commands given in the form of if-(state), then-(action), because-(goal) statements. More precisely, we consider the problem of identifying the unstated presumptions of the speaker that allow the requested action to achieve the desired goal from the given state (perhaps elaborated by making the implicit presumptions explicit). We release a benchmark data set for this task, collected from humans and annotated with commonsense presumptions. We present a neuro-symbolic theorem prover that extracts multi-hop reasoning chains, and apply it to this problem. Furthermore, to accommodate the reality that current AI commonsense systems lack full coverage, we also present an interactive conversational framework built on our neuro-symbolic system, that conversationally evokes commonsense knowledge from humans to complete its reasoning chains.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2021
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781713835974
StatePublished - 2021
Event35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 2 Feb 20219 Feb 2021

Publication series

Name35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2021


Conference35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2021
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence


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