Why abstraction is the key to intelligence, and what we’re still missing

09/15/2021 4:56 pm - 5:56 pm

Abstract: This talk provides a personal perspective on the way forward towards more human-like and more intelligent artificial systems. Traditionally, symbolic and probabilistic methods have dominated the domains of concept formation, abstraction, and automated reasoning. More recently, deep learning-based approaches have led to significant breakthroughs, including successes in games and combinatorial search tasks. However, the resulting systems are still limited in scope and capabilities — they remain brittle, data-hungry, and their generalization capabilities are limited. We will address a set of questions: why is conceptual abstraction essential for intelligence? What is the nature of abstraction, and its relationship to generalization? What kind of abstraction can deep learning models generate, and where do they fail? What are the methods that are currently successful in generating strong conceptual abstraction? Finally, we will consider how to leverage a hybrid approach to reinforce the strength of different approaches while compensating for their respective weaknesses.