Multitask Learning Strengthens Adversarial Robustness

Chengzhi Mao, Amogh Gupta, Vikram Nitin, Baishakhi Ray, Shuran Song , Junfeng Yang, Carl Vondrick ;


Although deep networks achieve strong accuracy on a range of computer vision benchmarks, they remain vulnerable to adversarial attacks, where imperceptible input perturbations fool the network. We present both theoretical and empirical analyses that connect the adversarial robustness of a model to the number of tasks that it is trained on. Experiments on two datasets show that attack difficulty increases as the number of target tasks increase. Moreover, our results suggest that when models are trained on multiple tasks at once, they become more robust to adversarial attacks on individual tasks. While adversarial defense remains an open challenge, our results suggest that deep networks are vulnerable partly because they are trained on too few tasks."

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