Facebook has developed a system for its Artificial Intelligence (AI) mechanisms that teaches them to forget certain information when it is not important to perform their functions, thus saving on memory and processing costs.
The new technology, called ‘Expire-Span’, is “the first operation of its kind” according to the company, and seeks to make the neural networks of AI look like the workings of the brain human, who constantly forgets data, as reported by Facebook in a statement.
AI mechanisms tend to process information indiscriminately, but when this amount of data is very high, as in the case of long texts or videos, computing costs can become unsustainable.
The technology created by Facebook works first by predicting which information is most relevant to the functioning of a neural network and, based on this information, associates the data with an expiration date after which it is erased.
In this way, information essential to its operation is retained for longer, while irrelevant information is quickly removed, freeing up system memory space to focus on core tasks.
The distinction between what information is important and what is not stipulated by analyzing previous content in context, and its use on an ongoing basis allows the system to learn from its mistakes and retain more and more critical data.
The use of Expire-Span offers benefits to some common tasks of AI mechanisms such as language modeling at the character level, and improves efficiency in long-term context tasks in language, reinforced learning, object collision and tasks of algorithmics.
Facebook has highlighted that its technology provides benefits compared to other systems to save memory in the operation of AI such as data compression, since it does not require “blurring” the important information for its operation and therefore does not degrade the results.
In the case of long texts, the system works by saving only the most important terms, such as the names of people and places, and ignoring other secondary words such as prepositions, which in fact allows to improve the results of the AI.
Facebook has assured that it will continue working so that Expire-Span continues to resemble more and more the functioning of human memory, and will study how to incorporate different types of memory, such as long-term semantics, in neural networks.