Artificial Brains May Need Sleep Too
No one can say whether androids will dream of electric sheep, but they will almost certainly need periods of rest that offer benefits similar to those that sleep provides to living brains, according to new research from Los Alamos National Laboratory. Watkins and her research team found that the network simulations became unstable after continuous periods of unsupervised learning. When they exposed the networks to states that are analogous to the waves that living brains experience during sleep, stability was restored.
“It was as though we were giving the neural networks the equivalent of a good night’s rest,” said Watkins. The discovery came about as the research team worked to develop neural networks that closely approximate how humans and other biological systems learn to see. The group initially struggled with stabilizing simulated neural networks undergoing unsupervised dictionary training, which involves classifying objects without having prior examples to compare them to.