Robust Representation Learning via Perceptual Similarity Metrics

A fundamental challenge in artificial intelligence is learning useful representations of data that yield good performance on a downstream task, without overfitting to spurious input features. Extracting such task-relevant predictive information is particularly difficult for real-world datasets. In this work, we propose Contrastive Input Morphing (CIM), a representation learning framework that learns input-space transformations of the data to mitigate the effect of irrelevant input features on downstream performance. Our method leverages a perceptual similarity metric via a triplet loss to ensure that the transformation preserves task-relevant information.Empirically, we demonstrate the efficacy of our approach on tasks which typically suffer from the presence of spurious correlations: classification with nuisance information, out-of-distribution generalization, and preservation of subgroup accuracies. We additionally show that CIM is complementary to other mutual information-based representation learning techniques, and demonstrate that it improves the performance of variational information bottleneck (VIB) when used together.

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