People learning new concepts can often generalize successfully from just a single example, yet machine learning algorithms typically require tens or hundreds of examples to perform with similar accuracy. People can also use learned concepts in richer ways than conventional algorithms-for action, imagination, and explanation. We present a computational model that captures these human learning abilities for a large class of simple visual concepts: handwritten characters from the world's alphabets. The model represents concepts as simple programs that best explain observed examples under a Bayesian criterion. On a challenging one-shot classification task, the model achieves human-level performance while outperforming recent deep learning approaches.We also present several "visual Turing tests" probing the model's creative generalization abilities, which in many cases are indistinguishable from human behavior.
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