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A Survey on the Explainability of Supervised Machine Learning

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Predictions obtained by, e.g., artificial neural networks have a high accuracy but humans often perceive the models as black boxes. Insights about the decision making are mostly opaque for humans. Particularly understanding the decision making in highly sensitive areas such as healthcare or finance, is of paramount importance. The decision-making behind the black boxes requires it to be more transparent, accountable, and understandable for humans. This survey paper provides essential definitions, an overview of the different principles and methodologies of explainable Supervised Machine Learning (SML). We conduct a state-of-the-art survey that reviews past and recent explainable SML approaches and classifies them according to the introduced definitions. Finally, we illustrate principles by means of an explanatory case study and discuss important future directions.


Explanations of Black-Box Model Predictions by Contextual Importance and Utility

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The significant advances in autonomous systems together with an immensely wider application domain have increased the need for trustable intelligent systems. Explainable artificial intelligence is gaining considerable attention among researchers and developers to address this requirement. Although there is an increasing number of works on interpretable and transparent machine learning algorithms, they are mostly intended for the technical users. Explanations for the end-user have been neglected in many usable and practical applications. In this work, we present the Contextual Importance (CI) and Contextual Utility (CU) concepts to extract explanations that are easily understandable by experts as well as novice users. This method explains the prediction results without transforming the model into an interpretable one. We present an example of providing explanations for linear and non-linear models to demonstrate the generalizability of the method. CI and CU are numerical values that can be represented to the user in visuals and natural language form to justify actions and explain reasoning for individual instances, situations, and contexts. We show the utility of explanations in car selection example and Iris flower classification by presenting complete (i.e. the causes of an individual prediction) and contrastive explanation (i.e. contrasting instance against the instance of interest). The experimental results show the feasibility and validity of the provided explanation methods.


Explainable Artificial Intelligence Approaches: A Survey

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The lack of explainability of a decision from an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based "black box" system/model, despite its superiority in many real-world applications, is a key stumbling block for adopting AI in many high stakes applications of different domain or industry. While many popular Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) methods or approaches are available to facilitate a human-friendly explanation of the decision, each has its own merits and demerits, with a plethora of open challenges. We demonstrate popular XAI methods with a mutual case study/task (i.e., credit default prediction), analyze for competitive advantages from multiple perspectives (e.g., local, global), provide meaningful insight on quantifying explainability, and recommend paths towards responsible or human-centered AI using XAI as a medium. Practitioners can use this work as a catalog to understand, compare, and correlate competitive advantages of popular XAI methods. In addition, this survey elicits future research directions towards responsible or human-centric AI systems, which is crucial to adopt AI in high stakes applications.


Explainable Artificial Intelligence: a Systematic Review

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

This has led to the development of a plethora of domain-dependent and context-specific methods for dealing with the interpretation of machine learning (ML) models and the formation of explanations for humans. Unfortunately, this trend is far from being over, with an abundance of knowledge in the field which is scattered and needs organisation. The goal of this article is to systematically review research works in the field of XAI and to try to define some boundaries in the field. From several hundreds of research articles focused on the concept of explainability, about 350 have been considered for review by using the following search methodology. In a first phase, Google Scholar was queried to find papers related to "explainable artificial intelligence", "explainable machine learning" and "interpretable machine learning". Subsequently, the bibliographic section of these articles was thoroughly examined to retrieve further relevant scientific studies. The first noticeable thing, as shown in figure 2 (a), is the distribution of the publication dates of selected research articles: sporadic in the 70s and 80s, receiving preliminary attention in the 90s, showing raising interest in 2000 and becoming a recognised body of knowledge after 2010. The first research concerned the development of an explanation-based system and its integration in a computer program designed to help doctors make diagnoses [3]. Some of the more recent papers focus on work devoted to the clustering of methods for explainability, motivating the need for organising the XAI literature [4, 5, 6].


Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI): Concepts, Taxonomies, Opportunities and Challenges toward Responsible AI

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In the last years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has achieved a notable momentum that may deliver the best of expectations over many application sectors across the field. For this to occur, the entire community stands in front of the barrier of explainability, an inherent problem of AI techniques brought by sub-symbolism (e.g. ensembles or Deep Neural Networks) that were not present in the last hype of AI. Paradigms underlying this problem fall within the so-called eXplainable AI (XAI) field, which is acknowledged as a crucial feature for the practical deployment of AI models. This overview examines the existing literature in the field of XAI, including a prospect toward what is yet to be reached. We summarize previous efforts to define explainability in Machine Learning, establishing a novel definition that covers prior conceptual propositions with a major focus on the audience for which explainability is sought. We then propose and discuss about a taxonomy of recent contributions related to the explainability of different Machine Learning models, including those aimed at Deep Learning methods for which a second taxonomy is built. This literature analysis serves as the background for a series of challenges faced by XAI, such as the crossroads between data fusion and explainability. Our prospects lead toward the concept of Responsible Artificial Intelligence, namely, a methodology for the large-scale implementation of AI methods in real organizations with fairness, model explainability and accountability at its core. Our ultimate goal is to provide newcomers to XAI with a reference material in order to stimulate future research advances, but also to encourage experts and professionals from other disciplines to embrace the benefits of AI in their activity sectors, without any prior bias for its lack of interpretability.