Multimodal Web Navigation with Instruction-Finetuned Foundation Models


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The progress of autonomous web navigation has been hindered by the dependence on billions of exploratory interactions via online reinforcement learning, and domain-specific model designs that make it difficult to leverage generalization from rich out-of-domain data. In this work, we study data-driven offline training for web agents with vision-language foundation models. We propose an instruction-following multimodal agent, WebGUM, that observes both webpage screenshots and HTML pages and outputs web navigation actions, such as click and type. WebGUM is trained by jointly finetuning an instruction-finetuned language model and a vision transformer on a large corpus of demonstrations. We empirically demonstrate this recipe improves the agent's ability of grounded visual perception, HTML comprehension and multi-step reasoning, outperforming prior works by a significant margin. On the MiniWoB benchmark, we improve over the previous best offline methods by more than 31.9%, being close to reaching online-finetuned SoTA. On the WebShop benchmark, our 3-billion-parameter model achieves superior performance to the existing SoTA, PaLM-540B. We also collect 347K high-quality demonstrations using our trained models, 38 times larger than prior work, and make them available to promote future research in this direction.
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