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Zero-shot” is a term used in machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to refer to the capability of a model to perform a task without any specific training data for that task. In other words, a zero-shot model can generalize and make predictions for tasks it has never been explicitly trained on.

Here’s how zero-shot learning works:

  1. Pre-trained Model: Zero-shot learning typically involves using a pre-trained model that has learned from a large dataset on a related task. This pre-training imparts the model with a general understanding of language and concepts.
  2. Task Definition: To perform a zero-shot task, the model is provided with a description or prompt that clearly defines the task and its requirements. This can include examples or hints about what the task involves.
  3. Generalization: The model uses its learned understanding of language and concepts to infer the correct approach or answer for the given task, even though it has not been trained on specific examples for that task.
  4. Multilingual Applications: Zero-shot learning is especially useful in multilingual applications. For instance, a model trained in one language can still perform tasks in another language with appropriate prompts.

Zero-shot learning is a testament to the power of transfer learning in machine learning. It demonstrates that a well-trained model can leverage its general knowledge to adapt to new tasks, even if those tasks were not part of its original training objectives.

The concept of zero-shot learning has been extended to “few-shot” and “one-shot” learning, where a model is provided with a very limited number of training examples (few or even just one) for a new task. These variations further explore the model’s ability to generalize from limited information.

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