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Workshop: 4th Workshop on Self-Supervised Learning: Theory and Practice

Self-Supervised Image Captioning with CLIP

Chuanyang Jin


Image captioning, a fundamental task in vision-language understanding, seeks to generate accurate natural language descriptions for provided images. Current image captioning approaches heavily rely on high-quality image-caption pairs, which can be hard to obtain for many domains. To address this, we introduce a self-supervised image captioning method. After learning an initial signal from a small labeled dataset, our method transitions to self-supervised learning on unlabeled data, leveraging the auxiliary task of enhancing the CLIP relevance between images and generated captions. Remarkably, despite utilizing less than 2\% of the labeled COCO dataset, our method delivers a performance comparable to state-of-the-art models trained on the complete dataset. Human evaluations further reveal that our method produces captions with greater distinctiveness and informativeness, two attributes inherently challenging to achieve through supervised learning.

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