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Ben Lonnqvist, Alban Bornet, Adrien Doerig, Michael H. Herzog; A comparative biology approach to DNN modeling of vision: A focus on differences, not similarities. Journal of Vision 2021;21(10):17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.10.17.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Deep neural networks (DNNs) have revolutionized computer science and are now widely used for neuroscientific research. A hot debate has ensued about the usefulness of DNNs as neuroscientific models of the human visual system; the debate centers on to what extent certain shortcomings of DNNs are real failures and to what extent they are redeemable. Here, we argue that the main problem is that we often do not understand which human functions need to be modeled and, thus, what counts as a falsification. Hence, not only is there a problem on the DNN side, but there is also one on the brain side (i.e., with the explanandum—the thing to be explained). For example, should DNNs reproduce illusions? We posit that we can make better use of DNNs by adopting an approach of comparative biology by focusing on the differences, rather than the similarities, between DNNs and humans to improve our understanding of visual information processing in general.
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