Improving Coherence and Consistency in Neural Sequence Models with Dual-System, Neuro-Symbolic Reasoning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Maxwell Nye, Michael Tessler, Josh Tenenbaum, Brenden M. Lake


Human reasoning can be understood as an interplay between two systems: the intuitive and associative ("System 1") and the deliberative and logical ("System 2"). Neural sequence models---which have been increasingly successful at performing complex, structured tasks---exhibit the advantages and failure modes of System 1: they are fast and learn patterns from data, but are often inconsistent and incoherent. In this work, we seek a lightweight, training-free means of improving existing System 1-like sequence models by adding System 2-inspired logical reasoning. We explore several variations on this theme in which candidate generations from a neural sequence model are examined for logical consistency by a symbolic reasoning module, which can either accept or reject the generations. Our approach uses neural inference to mediate between the neural System 1 and the logical System 2. Results in robust story generation and grounded instruction-following show that this approach can increase the coherence and accuracy of neurally-based generations.