From Word Models to World Models: Translating from Natural Language to the Probabilistic Language of Thought


引用 9|浏览154
How does language inform our downstream thinking? In particular, how do humans make meaning from language -- and how can we leverage a theory of linguistic meaning to build machines that think in more human-like ways? In this paper, we propose \textit{rational meaning construction}, a computational framework for language-informed thinking that combines neural models of language with probabilistic models for rational inference. We frame linguistic meaning as a context-sensitive mapping from natural language into a \textit{probabilistic language of thought} (PLoT) -- a general-purpose symbolic substrate for probabilistic, generative world modeling. Our architecture integrates two powerful computational tools that have not previously come together: we model thinking with \textit{probabilistic programs}, an expressive representation for flexible commonsense reasoning; and we model meaning construction with \textit{large language models} (LLMs), which support broad-coverage translation from natural language utterances to code expressions in a probabilistic programming language. We illustrate our framework in action through examples covering four core domains from cognitive science: probabilistic reasoning, logical and relational reasoning, visual and physical reasoning, and social reasoning about agents and their plans. In each, we show that LLMs can generate context-sensitive translations that capture pragmatically-appropriate linguistic meanings, while Bayesian inference with the generated programs supports coherent and robust commonsense reasoning. We extend our framework to integrate cognitively-motivated symbolic modules to provide a unified commonsense thinking interface from language. Finally, we explore how language can drive the construction of world models themselves.
AI 理解论文