Few-Shot VQA with Frozen LLMs: A Tale of Two Approaches

17 Mar 2024  ·  Igor Sterner, Weizhe Lin, Jinghong Chen, Bill Byrne ·

Two approaches have emerged to input images into large language models (LLMs). The first is to caption images into natural language. The second is to map image feature embeddings into the domain of the LLM and pass the mapped embeddings directly to the LLM. The majority of recent few-shot multimodal work reports performance using architectures that employ variations of one of these two approaches. But they overlook an important comparison between them. We design a controlled and focused experiment to compare these two approaches to few-shot visual question answering (VQA) with LLMs. Our findings indicate that for Flan-T5 XL, a 3B parameter LLM, connecting visual embeddings directly to the LLM embedding space does not guarantee improved performance over using image captions. In the zero-shot regime, we find using textual image captions is better. In the few-shot regimes, how the in-context examples are selected determines which is better.

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