A team of researchers at USC is helping AI imagine the unseen, a technique that could also lead to fairer AI, new medicines and increased autonomous vehicle safety.
The new AI system takes its inspiration from humans: when a human sees a color from one object, we can easily apply it to any other object by substituting the original color with the new one. Illustration/Chris Kim.
Imagine an orange cat. Now, imagine the same cat, but with coal-black fur. Now, imagine the cat strutting along the Great Wall of China. Doing this, a quick series of neuron activations in your brain will come up with variations of the picture presented, based on your previous knowledge of the world.
In other words, as humans, it’s easy to envision an object with different attributes. But, despite advances in deep neural networks that match or surpass human performance in certain tasks, computers still struggle with the very human skill of “imagination.”
Now, a USC research team comprising computer science Professor Laurent Itti, and PhD students Yunhao Ge, Sami Abu-El-Haija and Gan Xin, has developed an AI that uses human-like capabilities to imagine a never-before-seen object with different attributes. The paper, titled Zero-Shot Synthesis with Group-Supervised Learning, was published in the 2021 International Conference on Learning Representations on May 7.