Biological underpinnings for lifelong learning machines

Dhireesha Kudithipudi*, Mario Aguilar-Simon, Jonathan Babb, Maxim Bazhenov, Douglas Blackiston, Josh Bongard, Andrew P. Brna, Suraj Chakravarthi Raja, Nick Cheney, Jeff Clune, Anurag Daram, Stefano Fusi, Peter Helfer, Leslie Kay, Nicholas Ketz, Zsolt Kira, Soheil Kolouri, Jeffrey L. Krichmar, Sam Kriegman, Michael LevinSandeep Madireddy, Santosh Manicka, Ali Marjaninejad, Bruce McNaughton, Risto Miikkulainen, Zaneta Navratilova, Tej Pandit, Alice Parker, Praveen K. Pilly, Sebastian Risi, Terrence J. Sejnowski, Andrea Soltoggio, Nicholas Soures, Andreas S. Tolias, Darío Urbina-Meléndez, Francisco J. Valero-Cuevas, Gido M. van de Ven, Joshua T. Vogelstein, Felix Wang, Ron Weiss, Angel Yanguas-Gil, Xinyun Zou, Hava Siegelmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Biological organisms learn from interactions with their environment throughout their lifetime. For artificial systems to successfully act and adapt in the real world, it is desirable to similarly be able to learn on a continual basis. This challenge is known as lifelong learning, and remains to a large extent unsolved. In this Perspective article, we identify a set of key capabilities that artificial systems will need to achieve lifelong learning. We describe a number of biological mechanisms, both neuronal and non-neuronal, that help explain how organisms solve these challenges, and present examples of biologically inspired models and biologically plausible mechanisms that have been applied to artificial systems in the quest towards development of lifelong learning machines. We discuss opportunities to further our understanding and advance the state of the art in lifelong learning, aiming to bridge the gap between natural and artificial intelligence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-210
Number of pages15
JournalNature Machine Intelligence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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