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Now That Machines Can Learn, Can They Unlearn?

By Wired

August 19, 2021

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Companies of all kinds use machine learning to analyze people's desires, dislikes, or faces, but some researchers are now asking a different question: How can we make machines forget? A nascent area of computer science dubbed machine unlearning seeks to induce selective amnesia in artificial intelligence (AI) software, striving to remove all trace of a particular person or data point without affecting performance.

However, the notion of artificial amnesia requires some new ideas in computer science. Once trained, a machine-learning system is not easily altered or even understood. It will take virtuoso technical work before tech companies can actually implement machine unlearning as a way to offer people more control over the algorithmic fate of their data. Even then, it might not change much about the privacy risks of the AI age.

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