Online Explanation Generation for Human-Robot Teaming

Zakershahrak, Mehrdad, Gong, Ze, Zhang, Yu Artificial Intelligence 

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes an integral part of our life, the development of explainable AI, embodied in the decision-making process of an AI or robotic agent, becomes imperative. For a robotic teammate, the ability to generate explanations to explain its behavior is one of the key requirements of an explainable agency. Prior work on explanation generation focuses on supporting the reasoning behind the robot's behavior. These approaches, however, fail to consider the cognitive effort needed to understand the received explanation. In particular, the human teammate is expected to understand any explanation provided before the task execution, no matter how much information is presented in the explanation. In this work, we argue that an explanation, especially complex ones, should be made in an online fashion during the execution, which helps to spread out the information to be explained and thus reducing the cognitive load of humans. However, a challenge here is that the different parts of an explanation are dependent on each other, which must be taken into account when generating online explanations. To this end, a general formulation of online explanation generation is presented. We base our explanation generation method in a model reconciliation setting introduced in our prior work. Our approach is evaluated both with human subjects in a standard planning competition (IPC) domain, using NASA Task Load Index (TLX), as well as in simulation with four different problems.