Are Adversarial Examples Inevitable?


A wide range of defenses have been proposed to harden neural networks against adversarial attacks. However, a pattern has emerged in which the majority of adversarial defenses are quickly broken by new attacks. Given the lack of success at generating robust defenses, we are led to ask a fundamental question: Are adversarial attacks inevitable? This paper analyzes adversarial examples from a theoretical perspective, and identifies fundamental bounds on the susceptibility of a classifier to adversarial attacks. We show that, for certain classes of problems, adversarial examples are inescapable. Using experiments, we explore the implications of theoretical guarantees for real-world problems and discuss how factors such as dimensionality and image complexity limit a classifier’s robustness against adversarial examples.

International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR)