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Facebook aims to help AI models forget with Expire-Span

By forgetting, AI will be able to retain more information at scale because it will be able to memorize the most critical items.
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributing Editor on

Facebook wants to help artificial intelligence models forget.

The company introduced a tool called Expire-Span, which enables AI models, to forget. Today, AI models including neural networks memorize information and data without distinction. By forgetting, AI will be able to retain more information at scale because it will be able to memorize the most critical items.

According to Facebook, Expire-Span can use memory more effectively. Expire-Span remembers critical components, but not everything.

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Expire-Span evaluates each piece of information in a model and predicts what will be more important to return. The training data is based on context as the model learns.

In a blog post, Facebook explained that processing information indiscriminately can work on a small scale. But once models take on more data the computational costs surge.

Expire-Span also assigns information with an expiration date. When the date passes, information expires from the AI system. More relevant data is retained longer, but the expiration date enables AI systems to have more memory space.

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Aside from the computation and storage savings, Expire-Scan processes can enable models to optimize over time.

Facebook said Expire-Scan was inspired by the way humans retain memories. The company noted that Expire-Scan "has exciting implications for, one day, achieving a wide-range of hard, humanlike AI capabilities that would otherwise not be possible."

Expire-Scan is still in the research phase and focuses on past experience memories. Facebook said it will study how to incorporate more memories into neural networks to better replicate the human brain.  

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