This article is part of our reviews of AI research papers, a series of posts that explore the latest findings in artificial intelligence.
Consider the animal in the following image. If you recognize it, a quick series of neuron activations in your brain will link its image to its name and other information you know about it (habitat, size, diet, lifespan, etc…). But if like me, you’ve never seen this animal before, your mind is now racing through your repertoire of animal species, comparing tails, ears, paws, noses, snouts, and everything else to determine which bucket this odd creature belongs to. Your biological neural network is reprocessing your past experience to deal with a novel situation.
Our brains, honed through millions of years of evolution, are very efficient processing machines, sorting out the ton of information we receive through our sensory inputs, associating known items with their respective categories.
That picture, by the way, is an Indian civet, an endangered species that has nothing to do with cats, dogs, and rodents. It should be placed in its own separate category (viverrids). There you go. You now have a new bucket to place civets in, which includes this variant that was sighted recently in India.