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Repurposing of Resources: from Everyday Problem Solving through to Crisis Management

The human ability to repurpose objects and processes is universal, but it is not a well-understood aspect of human intelligence. Repurposing arises in everyday situations such as finding substitutes for missing ingredients when cooking, or for unavailable tools when doing DIY. It also arises in critical, unprecedented situations needing crisis management. After natural disasters and during wartime, people must repurpose the materials and processes available to make shelter, distribute food, etc. Repurposing is equally important in professional life (e.g. clinicians often repurpose medicines off-license) and in addressing societal challenges (e.g. finding new roles for waste products,). Despite the importance of repurposing, the topic has received little academic attention. By considering examples from a variety of domains such as every-day activities, drug repurposing and natural disasters, we identify some principle characteristics of the process and describe some technical challenges that would be involved in modelling and simulating it. We consider cases of both substitution, i.e. finding an alternative for a missing resource, and exploitation, i.e. identifying a new role for an existing resource. We argue that these ideas could be developed into general formal theory of repurposing, and that this could then lead to the development of AI methods based on commonsense reasoning, argumentation, ontological reasoning, and various machine learning methods, to develop tools to support repurposing in practice.

DisCERN:Discovering Counterfactual Explanations using Relevance Features from Neighbourhoods

Counterfactual explanations focus on "actionable knowledge" to help end-users understand how a machine learning outcome could be changed to a more desirable outcome. For this purpose a counterfactual explainer needs to discover input dependencies that relate to outcome changes. Identifying the minimum subset of feature changes needed to action an output change in the decision is an interesting challenge for counterfactual explainers. The DisCERN algorithm introduced in this paper is a case-based counter-factual explainer. Here counterfactuals are formed by replacing feature values from a nearest unlike neighbour (NUN) until an actionable change is observed. We show how widely adopted feature relevance-based explainers (i.e. LIME, SHAP), can inform DisCERN to identify the minimum subset of "actionable features". We demonstrate our DisCERN algorithm on five datasets in a comparative study with the widely used optimisation-based counterfactual approach DiCE. Our results demonstrate that DisCERN is an effective strategy to minimise actionable changes necessary to create good counterfactual explanations.

The Importance and Challenges of Ethical AI

In thinking about how artificial intelligence works, it is not difficult to arrive at the analogy of a human brain, learning over time from the information it is provided, seeking patterns in that information to optimize its ability to apply those learnings to similar or never-before-seen problems. However, the power of AI lies in its ability to process infinitely greater volumes of information, including streaming data, to detect patterns that may otherwise never be detectible to the human brain. This kind of superpower can be useful when processing over one hundred billion transactions per year and seeking, in real time, to detect costly fraud. This is how, using artificial intelligence technologies such as smart agents, neural networks, and case-based reasoning, Brighterion has been able to transform how fraud is detected and prevented across payment, healthcare and credit risk lifecycle ecosystems. As AI continues to enable, improve and automate a growing number of tasks and processes across different industries, it is not only shifting how companies conduct business, it is also increasingly curating our daily experiences and shaping how we as individuals interact with our world.

Under-bagging Nearest Neighbors for Imbalanced Classification

In this paper, we propose an ensemble learning algorithm called \textit{under-bagging $k$-nearest neighbors} (\textit{under-bagging $k$-NN}) for imbalanced classification problems. On the theoretical side, by developing a new learning theory analysis, we show that with properly chosen parameters, i.e., the number of nearest neighbors $k$, the expected sub-sample size $s$, and the bagging rounds $B$, optimal convergence rates for under-bagging $k$-NN can be achieved under mild assumptions w.r.t.~the arithmetic mean (AM) of recalls. Moreover, we show that with a relatively small $B$, the expected sub-sample size $s$ can be much smaller than the number of training data $n$ at each bagging round, and the number of nearest neighbors $k$ can be reduced simultaneously, especially when the data are highly imbalanced, which leads to substantially lower time complexity and roughly the same space complexity. On the practical side, we conduct numerical experiments to verify the theoretical results on the benefits of the under-bagging technique by the promising AM performance and efficiency of our proposed algorithm.

Bridging Case-Based Reasoning, DL and XAI at the First Virtual ICCBR Conference (ICCBR2020)

Ian Watson, Rosina O Weber, David Leake Case-based reasoning is reasoning from experience, solving new problems and interpreting new situations by retrieving and adapting prior cases. The Twenty-Eight International Conference on Case-Based Reasoning (ICCBR2020) was held from June 8-12, 2020, with program chairs Ian Watson and Rosina Weber. The conference was originally scheduled for Salamanca, Spain, a World Heritage site, under the auspices of local chair Juan Manuel Corchado and the University of Salamanca. Its theme, "CBR Across Bridges", reflected the goal of bringing together researchers and practitioners with relevant work across various AI areas. Before the conference, the pandemic struck, with tragic effects. The conference chairs resolved to continue with a safe alternative: the first virtual ICCBR. With researchers unable to travel, the virtual conference not only bridged AI areas but geographic ones: 141 conference attendees participated from 23 countries.

An Introduction to AI Story Generation

Automated story generation is the use of an intelligent system to produce a fictional story from a minimal set of inputs. This is a problem that has long been explored by AI researchers, since it strikes at some fundamental research questions in artificial intelligence. To tell a story, an intelligent system has to have a lot of knowledge, both about how to tell a story and about how the world works. These concepts need to be grounded to be able to tell coherent stories. Story generation is therefore an excellent way to know if an intelligent system truly understands something. To understand a concept, one must be able to put that concept into practice -- telling a story in which a concept is used correctly is one way of doing that. For example, if an AI system tells a story about going to a restaurant, as simple as that sounds, we discover very quickly what the system doesn't understand when it messes up basic details. Besides understanding concepts, storytelling also requires an understanding of the listener or reader, known as a theory of mind -- a model of the listener to reason about what needs to be said or what can be left out and still convey a comprehensible story. In addition to these fundamental AI research problems, automated story generation is also worth studying for the applications it may enable. The remainder of this article will present a primer on the field of research that I think my students need to know to get started on research on automated story generation, and that anyone interested in the topic of automated story generation may find it informative. A caveat: since I have been actively researching automated story generation for nearly two decades, this primer will be somewhat biased toward work from my research group and collaborators. We might distinguish between automated story generation and automated plot generation.

What's coming up at #IJCAI2021?

The 30th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-21) will run in a virtual format from August 19th to August 26th, 2021. There are a whole host of talks, workshops, tutorials, socials and competitions planned. Find out more about the various events below. An exciting programme of invited talks awaits, with eight speakers from a range of research areas. You can find out more about the speakers and their talks here.

Analogical Learning in Tactical Decision Games

A longstanding challenge for machine learning is to learn from complex structured examples in broad, open domains. We believe that domain-independent analogical mapping and constraint propagation can form an effective foundation for such learning. Our experience applying these techniques to Tactical Decision Games led us to develop several strategies that make use of limited domain knowledge to assist in the transfer and adaptation of precedents. Although these additional techniques require some domain-specific knowledge, we believe them to be useful in a broad variety of domains. We have been exploring analogical learning as part of developing interactive companion systems (Forbus and Hinrichs, 2004), software agents that learn over the long term. One important aspect of a companion is that it should learn from experience by accumulating examples. This is a weak form of learning that we expect to augment eventually with facilities for generalization, but it is a critical capability nevertheless.

The application of artificial intelligence in software engineering: a review challenging conventional wisdom

The field of artificial intelligence (AI) is witnessing a recent upsurge in research, tools development, and deployment of applications. Multiple software companies are shifting their focus to developing intelligent systems; and many others are deploying AI paradigms to their existing processes. In parallel, the academic research community is injecting AI paradigms to provide solutions to traditional engineering problems. Similarly, AI has evidently been proved useful to software engineering (SE). When one observes the SE phases (requirements, design, development, testing, release, and maintenance), it becomes clear that multiple AI paradigms (such as neural networks, machine learning, knowledge-based systems, natural language processing) could be applied to improve the process and eliminate many of the major challenges that the SE field has been facing. This survey chapter is a review of the most commonplace methods of AI applied to SE. The review covers methods between years 1975-2017, for the requirements phase, 46 major AI-driven methods are found, 19 for design, 15 for development, 68 for testing, and 15 for release and maintenance. Furthermore, the purpose of this chapter is threefold; firstly, to answer the following questions: is there sufficient intelligence in the SE lifecycle? What does applying AI to SE entail? Secondly, to measure, formulize, and evaluate the overlap of SE phases and AI disciplines. Lastly, this chapter aims to provide serious questions to challenging the current conventional wisdom (i.e., status quo) of the state-of-the-art, craft a call for action, and to redefine the path forward.

Task and Situation Structures for Service Agent Planning

Everyday tasks are characterized by their varieties and variations, and frequently are not clearly specified to service agents. This paper presents a comprehensive approach to enable a service agent to deal with everyday tasks in open, uncontrolled environments. We introduce a generic structure for representing tasks, and another structure for representing situations. Based on the two newly introduced structures, we present a methodology of situation handling that avoids hard-coding domain rules while improving the scalability of real-world task planning systems.