ConZIC: Controllable Zero-Shot Image Captioning by Sampling-Based Polishing

Zequn Zeng · Hao Zhang · Ruiying Lu · Dongsheng Wang · Bo Chen · Zhengjue Wang

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 273


Zero-shot capability has been considered as a new revolution of deep learning, letting machines work on tasks without curated training data. As a good start and the only existing outcome of zero-shot image captioning (IC), ZeroCap abandons supervised training and sequentially searching every word in the caption using the knowledge of large-scale pre-trained models. Though effective, its autoregressive generation and gradient-directed searching mechanism limit the diversity of captions and inference speed, respectively. Moreover, ZeroCap does not consider the controllability issue of zero-shot IC. To move forward, we propose a framework for Controllable Zero-shot IC, named ConZIC. The core of ConZIC is a novel sampling-based non-autoregressive language model named GibbsBERT, which can generate and continuously polish every word. Extensive quantitative and qualitative results demonstrate the superior performance of our proposed ConZIC for both zero-shot IC and controllable zero-shot IC. Especially, ConZIC achieves about 5× faster generation speed than ZeroCap, and about 1.5× higher diversity scores, with accurate generation given different control signals.

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