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One disadvantage or weakness of Artificial Intelligence today the slow nature of learning or training success. For instance, an AI agent might require a 100,000 samples or more to reach an appreciable level of performance with a specific task. But this is unlike humans who are able to learn very quickly with a minimum number of samples. Humans are also able to teach one another, or in other words, transfer knowledge acquired.

My question is this: are Artificial Intelligence learnings or trainings transferable from one agent to the other? If yes, how? If no, why?

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The simplest case is copying the software. That is instant duplication of the learnings. In a similar, but less trivial way you can adjust pretrained neural network classifiers to new datasets by simply re-initializing the last layer.

It gets more interesting when you have multiple agents and you want to combine their knowledge. This can be done with many techniques; the simplest is averaging the weights of identical neural network architectures. One example of this combined learning happened is Google Has a Room Full of Robot Arms Learning Hand-Eye Coordination. The relevant paper is Learning Hand-Eye Coordination for Robotic Grasping with Deep Learning and Large-Scale Data Collection.

The most complicated case, where you want to transfer just the gist and prevent forgetting is -- up to my knowledge, and I'm relatively certain it's outdated in that area -- unsolved. The problem is post-hoc explanations. Humans decide to do something, observe the outcome and then explain why they did something / why it was good to do it. So we automatically generate hypotheses about the world. And sometimes we are able to formulate them in a way that others can understand them. That is not possible with current learning machines. We don't know yet how to abstract automatically from arbitrary problems.

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  • $\begingroup$ I am confident transfer of learnings from one agent to the other will be a surer route to achieving artificial general intelligence. $\endgroup$ Nov 14, 2018 at 16:13

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