Keywords: object representations, self-supervised learning, time-based augmentations, data augmentations
TL;DR: We show that time-based augmentations resulting from ego-motion and object manipulations improve over standard data-augmentations methods on the ability to visually recognize object categories.
Abstract: Biological vision systems are unparalleled in their ability to learn visual representations without supervision. In machine learning, self-supervised learning (SSL) has led to major advances in forming object representations in an unsupervised fashion. Such systems learn representations invariant to augmentation operations over images, like cropping or flipping. In contrast, biological vision systems exploit the temporal structure of the visual experience during natural interactions with objects. This gives access to “augmentations” not commonly used in SSL, like watching the same object from multiple viewpoints or against different backgrounds. Here, we systematically investigate and compare the potential benefits of such time-based augmentations during natural interactions for learning object categories. Our results show that incorporating time-based augmentations achieves large performance gains over state-of-the-art image augmentations. Specifically, our analyses reveal that: 1) 3-D object manipulations drastically improve the learning of object categories; 2) viewing objects against changing backgrounds is important for learning to discard background-related information from the latent representation. Overall, we conclude that time-based augmentations during natural interactions with objects can substantially improve self-supervised learning, narrowing the gap between artificial and biological vision systems.
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