Selective Amnesia: A Continual Learning Approach to Forgetting in Deep Generative Models

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Alvin Heng, Harold Soh


The recent proliferation of large-scale text-to-image models has led to growing concerns that such models may be misused to generate harmful, misleading, and inappropriate content. Motivated by this issue, we derive a technique inspired by continual learning to selectively forget concepts in pretrained deep generative models. Our method, dubbed Selective Amnesia, enables controllable forgetting where a user can specify how a concept should be forgotten. Selective Amnesia can be applied to conditional variational likelihood models, which encompass a variety of popular deep generative frameworks, including variational autoencoders and large-scale text-to-image diffusion models. Experiments across different models demonstrate that our approach induces forgetting on a variety of concepts, from entire classes in standard datasets to celebrity and nudity prompts in text-to-image models.