As multimodal learning finds applications in a wide variety of high-stakes societal tasks, investigating their robustness becomes important. Existing work has focused on understanding the robustness of vision-and-language models to imperceptible variations on benchmark tasks. In this work, we investigate the robustness of multimodal classifiers to cross-modal dilutions – a plausible variation. We develop a model that, given a multimodal (image + text) input, generates additional dilution text that (a) maintains relevance and topical coherence with the image and existing text, and (b) when added to the original text, leads to misclassification of the multimodal input. Via experiments on Crisis Humanitarianism and Sentiment Detection tasks, we find that the performance of task-specific fusion-based multimodal classifiers drops by 23.3% and 22.5%, respectively, in the presence of dilutions generated by our model. Metric-based comparisons with several baselines and human evaluations indicate that our dilutions show higher relevance and topical coherence, while simultaneously being more effective at demonstrating the brittleness of the multimodal classifiers. Our work aims to highlight and encourage further research on the robustness of deep multimodal models to realistic variations, especially in human-facing societal applications.
Citations have long been used to characterize the state of a scientific field and to identify influential works. However, writers use citations for different purposes, and this varied purpose influences uptake by future scholars. Unfortunately, our understanding of how scholars use and frame citations has been limited to small-scale manual citation analysis of individual papers. We perform the largest behavioral study of citations to date, analyzing how scientific works frame their contributions through different types of citations and how this framing affects the field as a whole. We introduce a new dataset of nearly 2,000 citations annotated for their function, and use it to develop a state-of-the-art classifier and label the papers of an entire field: Natural Language Processing. We then show how differences in framing affect scientific uptake and reveal the evolution of the publication venues and the field as a whole. We demonstrate that authors are sensitive to discourse structure and publication venue when citing, and that how a paper frames its work through citations is predictive of the citation count it will receive. Finally, we use changes in citation framing to show that the field of NLP is undergoing a significant increase in consensus.