The intersection between neuroscience and artificial intelligence (AI) research has created synergistic effects in both fields. While neuroscientific discoveries have inspired the development of AI architectures, new ideas and algorithms from AI research have produced new ways to study brain mechanisms. A well-known example is the case of reinforcement learning (RL), which has stimulated neuroscience research on how animals learn to adjust their behavior to maximize reward. In this review article, we cover recent collaborative work between the two fields in the context of meta-learning and its extension to social cognition and consciousness. Meta-learning refers to the ability to learn how to learn, such as learning to adjust hyperparameters of existing learning algorithms and how to use existing models and knowledge to efficiently solve new tasks. This meta-learning capability is important for making existing AI systems more adaptive and flexible to efficiently solve new tasks. Since this is one of the areas where there is a gap between human performance and current AI systems, successful collaboration should produce new ideas and progress. Starting from the role of RL algorithms in driving neuroscience, we discuss recent developments in deep RL applied to modeling prefrontal cortex functions. Even from a broader perspective, we discuss the similarities and differences between social cognition and meta-learning, and finally conclude with speculations on the potential links between intelligence as endowed by model-based RL and consciousness. For future work we highlight data efficiency, autonomy and intrinsic motivation as key research areas for advancing both fields.
This page contains links to original data from experiments run at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. These data are available to others for educational purposes. If they are used in publications, please cite the source of the data by indicating the published reference and the address of this website