Exploring Geometry of Blind Spots in Vision models

Published: 21 Sept 2023, Last Modified: 02 Nov 2023NeurIPS 2023 spotlightEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Keywords: Neural networks, Vision models, blind spots, undersensitivity, invariance, level set geometry, input connectivity
TL;DR: We discover blind spots of common vision models by exploring the geometry of their level sets
Abstract: Despite the remarkable success of deep neural networks in a myriad of settings, several works have demonstrated their overwhelming sensitivity to near-imperceptible perturbations, known as adversarial attacks. On the other hand, prior works have also observed that deep networks can be under-sensitive, wherein large-magnitude perturbations in input space do not induce appreciable changes to network activations. In this work, we study in detail the phenomenon of under-sensitivity in vision models such as CNNs and Transformers, and present techniques to study the geometry and extent of “equi-confidence” level sets of such networks. We propose a Level Set Traversal algorithm that iteratively explores regions of high confidence with respect to the input space using orthogonal components of the local gradients. Given a source image, we use this algorithm to identify inputs that lie in the same equi-confidence level set as the source image despite being perceptually similar to arbitrary images from other classes. We further observe that the source image is linearly connected by a high-confidence path to these inputs, uncovering a star-like structure for level sets of deep networks. Furthermore, we attempt to identify and estimate the extent of these connected higher-dimensional regions over which the model maintains a high degree of confidence.
Submission Number: 14477