Visual modifications to text are often used to obfuscate offensive comments in social media (e.g., “!d10t”) or as a writing style (“1337” in “leet speak”), among other scenarios. We consider this as a new type of adversarial attack in NLP, a setting to which humans are very robust, as our experiments with both simple and more difficult visual perturbations demonstrate. We investigate the impact of visual adversarial attacks on current NLP systems on character-, word-, and sentence-level tasks, showing that both neural and non-neural models are, in contrast to humans, extremely sensitive to such attacks, suffering performance decreases of up to 82%. We then explore three shielding methods—visual character embeddings, adversarial training, and rule-based recovery—which substantially improve the robustness of the models. However, the shielding methods still fall behind performances achieved in non-attack scenarios, which demonstrates the difficulty of dealing with visual attacks.
The contrast between the contextual and general meaning of a word serves as an important clue for detecting its metaphoricity. In this paper, we present a deep neural architecture for metaphor detection which exploits this contrast. Additionally, we also use cost-sensitive learning by re-weighting examples, and baseline features like concreteness ratings, POS and WordNet-based features. The best performing system of ours achieves an overall F1 score of 0.570 on All POS category and 0.605 on the Verbs category at the Metaphor Shared Task 2018.