Neuro-Symbolic Causal Language Planning with Commonsense Prompting


Language planning aims to implement complex high-level goals by decomposition into sequential simpler low-level steps. Such procedural reasoning ability is essential for applications such as household robots and virtual assistants. Although language planning is a basic skill set for humans in daily life, it remains a challenge for large language models (LLMs) that lack deep-level commonsense knowledge in the real world. Previous methods require either manual exemplars or annotated programs to acquire such ability from LLMs. In contrast, this paper proposes Neuro-Symbolic Causal Language Planner (CLAP) that elicits procedural knowledge from the LLMs with commonsense-infused prompting. Pre-trained knowledge in LLMs is essentially an unobserved confounder that causes spurious correlations between tasks and action plans. Through the lens of a Structural Causal Model (SCM), we propose an effective strategy in CLAP to construct prompts as a causal intervention toward our SCM. Using graph sampling techniques and symbolic program executors, our strategy formalizes the structured causal prompts from commonsense knowledge bases. CLAP obtains state-of-the-art performance on WikiHow and RobotHow, achieving a relative improvement of 5.28% in human evaluations under the counterfactual setting. This indicates the superiority of CLAP in causal language planning semantically and sequentially.

On arXiv
Wanrong Zhu
Wanrong Zhu
CS Ph.D. Candidate

My research interests include vision-and-language problems and text generation.