Intriguing Properties of Generative Classifiers

Published: 16 Jan 2024, Last Modified: 05 Mar 2024ICLR 2024 spotlightEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
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Keywords: diffusion models, zero-shot, text-to-image, generative models, human visual perception, psychophysics, cognitive science, neuroscience
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TL;DR: Generative classifiers based on text-to-image generative models approximate human object recognition data surprisingly well.
Abstract: What is the best paradigm to recognize objects---discriminative inference (fast but potentially prone to shortcut learning) or using a generative model (slow but potentially more robust)? We build on recent advances in generative modeling that turn text-to-image models into classifiers. This allows us to study their behavior and to compare them against discriminative models and human psychophysical data. We report four intriguing emergent properties of generative classifiers: they show a record-breaking human-like shape bias (99% for Imagen), near human-level out-of-distribution accuracy, state-of-the-art alignment with human classification errors, and they understand certain perceptual illusions. Our results indicate that while the current dominant paradigm for modeling human object recognition is discriminative inference, zero-shot generative models approximate human object recognition data surprisingly well.
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Primary Area: generative models
Submission Number: 2718