Alignment with human representations supports robust few-shot learning

Ilia Sucholutsky, Thomas L. Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Should we care whether AI systems have representations of the world that are similar to those of humans? We provide an information-theoretic analysis that suggests that there should be a U-shaped relationship between the degree of representational alignment with humans and performance on few-shot learning tasks. We confirm this prediction empirically, finding such a relationship in an analysis of the performance of 491 computer vision models. We also show that highly-aligned models are more robust to both natural adversarial attacks and domain shifts. Our results suggest that human alignment is often a sufficient, but not necessary, condition for models to make effective use of limited data, be robust, and generalize well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
StatePublished - 2023
Event37th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2023 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Dec 10 2023Dec 16 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing


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