Did the Model Understand the Question?

Pramod Kaushik Mudrakarta, Ankur Taly, Mukund Sundararajan, Kedar Dhamdhere

We analyze state-of-the-art deep learning models for three tasks: question answering on (1) images, (2) tables, and (3) passages of text. Using the notion of "attribution" (word importance), we find that these deep networks often ignore important question terms. Leveraging such behavior, we perturb questions to craft a variety of adversarial examples. Our strongest attacks drop the accuracy of a visual question answering model from 61.1% to 19%, and that of a tabular question answering model from 33.5% to 3.3%. Additionally, we show how attributions can strengthen attacks proposed by Jia and Liang (2017) on paragraph comprehension models. Our results demonstrate that attributions can augment standard measures of accuracy and empower investigation of model performance. When a model is accurate but for the wrong reasons, attributions can surface erroneous logic in the model that indicates inadequacies in the test data.