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Real Neurons & Hidden Units: future directions at the intersection of neuroscience and AI
Guillaume Lajoie · Eli Shlizerman · Maximilian Puelma Touzel · Jessica Thompson · Konrad Kording

Sat Dec 14 08:00 AM -- 06:20 PM (PST) @ East Ballroom A
Event URL: https://sites.google.com/mila.quebec/neuroaiworkshop/ »

Recent years have witnessed an explosion of progress in AI. With it, a proliferation of experts and practitioners are pushing the boundaries of the field without regard to the brain. This is in stark contrast with the field's transdisciplinary origins, when interest in designing intelligent algorithms was shared by neuroscientists, psychologists and computer scientists alike. Similar progress has been made in neuroscience where novel experimental techniques now afford unprecedented access to brain activity and function. However, it is unclear how to maximize them to truly advance an end-to-end understanding of biological intelligence. The traditional neuroscience research program, however, lacks frameworks to truly advance an end-to-end understanding of biological intelligence. For the first time, mechanistic discoveries emerging from deep learning, reinforcement learning and other AI fields may be able to steer fundamental neuroscience research in ways beyond standard uses of machine learning for modelling and data analysis. For example, successful training algorithms in artificial networks, developed without biological constraints, can motivate research questions and hypotheses about the brain. Conversely, a deeper understanding of brain computations at the level of large neural populations may help shape future directions in AI. This workshop aims to address this novel situation by building on existing AI-Neuro relationships but, crucially, outline new directions for artificial systems and next-generation neuroscience experiments. We invite contributions concerned with the modern intersection between neuroscience and AI and in particular, addressing questions that can only now be tackled due to recent progress in AI on the role of recurrent dynamics, inductive biases to guide learning, global versus local learning rules, and interpretability of network activity. This workshop will promote discussion and showcase diverse perspectives on these open questions.

Author Information

Guillaume Lajoie (Université de Montréal / Mila)
Eli Shlizerman (Departments of Applied Mathematics and Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Washington Seattle)
Maximilian Puelma Touzel (Mila)
Jessica Thompson (Université de Montréal)
Konrad Kording (Upenn)

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