- Reviewed Version (pdf): https://openreview.net/references/pdf?id=lOPuVEuhu
- Keywords: representation learning, disentanglement
- Abstract: Despite impressive progress in the last decade, it still remains an open challenge to build models that generalize well across multiple tasks and datasets. One path to achieve this is to learn meaningful and compact representations, in which different semantic aspects of data are structurally disentangled. The focus of disentanglement approaches has been on separating independent factors of variation despite the fact that real-world observations are often not structured into meaningful independent causal variables. In this work, we bridge the gap to real-world scenarios by analyzing the behavior of most prominent methods and disentanglement scores on correlated data in a large scale empirical study (including 4260 models). We show that systematically induced correlations in the dataset are being learned and reflected in the latent representations, while widely used disentanglement scores fall short of capturing these latent correlations. Finally, we demonstrate how to disentangle these latent correlations using weak supervision, even if we constrain this supervision to be causally plausible. Our results thus support the argument to learn independent mechanisms rather than independent factors of variations.
- One-sentence Summary: The paper studies in a large-scale empirical study how correlations affect disentangled representation learning and how to address resulting ramifications.
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