What are the limitations of neural nets?


Neural networks have several notable limitations discussed by experts in the field:

  1. Data Requirements: Neural networks, particularly deep learning models, often require a large amount of labeled data to perform well. While there are semi-supervised and unsupervised learning algorithms to reduce this need, they still require significant amounts of data 1.

  2. Generalization Issues: Neural networks can struggle with generalization. They may require millions of examples for tasks that humans can learn from with far fewer examples. This is particularly challenging when the test data is from a different distribution than the training data 2 3.

    Limits of Deep Learning

    Ian explains that one of the biggest limitations of deep learning is the requirement for a lot of labeled data. Additionally, deep learning is a component of a bigger system and not proposed to be the only ingredient of intelligence.

    Lex Fridman Podcast

    Ian Goodfellow: Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) | Lex Fridman Podcast #19
  3. Abstract Understanding: Current state-of-the-art neural networks lack a robust and abstract understanding of the world. They do not yet handle high-level cognitive tasks as well as humans and are not as efficient in causal reasoning or integrating learning from multiple types of data (like combining visual and textual information) 4.

  4. Flexibility and Adaptability: Neural networks often lack the flexibility and quick adaptability that characterize human behavior. This limits their ability to respond in varied and dynamic environments 5.

  5. Computational Resources: Building and training effective neural networks require substantial computational power, which can be prohibitive. Current methods are not efficient enough, often needing significant resources for tasks that might seem trivial for humans 2.

  6. Representation Limits: Neural networks use a simplified representation of neurons, which does not capture the full complexity of biological neurons. This simplification can limit their ability to model cognitive processes accurately 6.

These limitations indicate significant areas for ongoing research and development to make neural networks more efficient and closer to human-level understanding and learning.