Degraded Polygons Raise Fundamental Questions of Neural Network Perception

arXiv (Cornell University)(2023)

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It is well-known that modern computer vision systems often exhibit behaviors misaligned with those of humans: from adversarial attacks to image corruptions, deep learning vision models suffer in a variety of settings that humans capably handle. In light of these phenomena, here we introduce another, orthogonal perspective studying the human-machine vision gap. We revisit the task of recovering images under degradation, first introduced over 30 years ago in the Recognition-by-Components theory of human vision. Specifically, we study the performance and behavior of neural networks on the seemingly simple task of classifying regular polygons at varying orders of degradation along their perimeters. To this end, we implement the Automated Shape Recoverability Test for rapidly generating large-scale datasets of perimeter-degraded regular polygons, modernizing the historically manual creation of image recoverability experiments. We then investigate the capacity of neural networks to recognize and recover such degraded shapes when initialized with different priors. Ultimately, we find that neural networks' behavior on this simple task conflicts with human behavior, raising a fundamental question of the robustness and learning capabilities of modern computer vision models.
degraded polygons,perception,neural network
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