Asking Before Action: Gather Information in Embodied Decision Making with Language Models

Xiaoyu Chen, Shenao Zhang, Pushi Zhang, Li Zhao, Jianyu Chen
Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence (cs.AI)
2023-05-24 16:00:00
With strong capabilities of reasoning and a generic understanding of the world, Large Language Models (LLMs) have shown great potential in building versatile embodied decision making agents capable of performing diverse tasks. However, when deployed to unfamiliar environments, we show that LLM agents face challenges in efficiently gathering necessary information, leading to suboptimal performance. On the other hand, in unfamiliar scenarios, human individuals often seek additional information from their peers before taking action, leveraging external knowledge to avoid unnecessary trial and error. Building upon this intuition, we propose \textit{Asking Before Action} (ABA), a method that empowers the agent to proactively query external sources for pertinent information using natural language during their interactions in the environment. In this way, the agent is able to enhance its efficiency and performance by mitigating wasteful steps and circumventing the difficulties associated with exploration in unfamiliar environments. We empirically evaluate our method on an embodied decision making benchmark, ALFWorld, and demonstrate that despite modest modifications in prompts, our method exceeds baseline LLM agents by more than $40$%. Further experiments on two variants of ALFWorld illustrate that by imitation learning, ABA effectively retains and reuses queried and known information in subsequent tasks, mitigating the need for repetitive inquiries. Both qualitative and quantitative results exhibit remarkable performance on tasks that previous methods struggle to solve.
PDF: Asking Before Action: Gather Information in Embodied Decision Making with Language Models.pdf
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