Zero-shot learning is a machine learning technique that enables computers to recognize and classify objects without relying on any labeled information. The term is often used interchangeably with one-shot learning, another machine learning technique, although there are subtle differences. Unlike one-shot learning, zero-shot learning does not use any labeled data to train the computer model. Instead, it uses additional information about the objects or concept to be learned, such as relationships between categories, to enable the computer to learn the desired concepts without any labels.
Zero-shot learning is a relatively new field of machine learning, having arisen in the mid-2010s. In recent years, many researchers have shown that it is possible to achieve impressive performance with this technique, both for recognizing objects in images and text. For example, Google’s artificial intelligence platform, TensorFlow, includes a zero-shot learning module designed to identify objects in images without the use of labeled data.
Adopting a zero-shot learning approach offers several potential benefits. Since it does not require labeled data, it can be used for tasks that would otherwise involve a large amount of labeling or for which labeling is not practicable. Additionally, since the model is trained using the relationships between categories, this allows the model to generalize better and identify links between different concepts.
Despite its potential advantages, zero-shot learning is not without drawbacks. Firstly, the approach requires the computer to possess a certain degree of knowledge of the concept being learned, often in the form of a hierarchical representation, making the technique difficult to apply in a wide range of circumstances. Secondly, it is not yet known how zero-shot learning algorithms will interact with real-world data and their results are not yet well-established. Despite these drawbacks, it is expected that zero-shot learning will increasingly become a viable alternative to traditional supervised machine learning approaches.