Slow Thinking Enables Task-Uncertain Lifelong and Sequential Few-Shot Learning

Sep 25, 2019 ICLR 2020 Conference Withdrawn Submission readers: everyone
  • TL;DR: This paper studies the interactions between the fast-learning and slow-prediction models and demonstrate how such interactions can improve machine capability to solve the joint lifelong and few-shot learning problems.
  • Abstract: Lifelong machine learning focuses on adapting to novel tasks without forgetting the old tasks, whereas few-shot learning strives to learn a single task given a small amount of data. These two different research areas are crucial for artificial general intelligence, however, their existing studies have somehow assumed some impractical settings when training the models. For lifelong learning, the nature (or the quantity) of incoming tasks during inference time is assumed to be known at training time. As for few-shot learning, it is commonly assumed that a large number of tasks is available during training. Humans, on the other hand, can perform these learning tasks without regard to the aforementioned assumptions. Inspired by how the human brain works, we propose a novel model, called the Slow Thinking to Learn (STL), that makes sophisticated (and slightly slower) predictions by iteratively considering interactions between current and previously seen tasks at runtime. Having conducted experiments, the results empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of STL for more realistic lifelong and few-shot learning settings.
  • Keywords: lifelong learning, few-shot learning, memory-augmented models, runtime adaptation
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