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ViCE: Visual Counterfactual Explanations for Machine Learning Models

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The continued improvements in the predictive accuracy of machine learning models have allowed for their widespread practical application. Yet, many decisions made with seemingly accurate models still require verification by domain experts. In addition, end-users of a model also want to understand the reasons behind specific decisions. Thus, the need for interpretability is increasingly paramount. In this paper we present an interactive visual analytics tool, ViCE, that generates counterfactual explanations to contextualize and evaluate model decisions. Each sample is assessed to identify the minimal set of changes needed to flip the model's output. These explanations aim to provide end-users with personalized actionable insights with which to understand, and possibly contest or improve, automated decisions. The results are effectively displayed in a visual interface where counterfactual explanations are highlighted and interactive methods are provided for users to explore the data and model. The functionality of the tool is demonstrated by its application to a home equity line of credit dataset.


DECE: Decision Explorer with Counterfactual Explanations for Machine Learning Models

arXiv.org Machine Learning

With machine learning models being increasingly applied to various decision-making scenarios, people have spent growing efforts to make machine learning models more transparent and explainable. Among various explanation techniques, counterfactual explanations have the advantages of being human-friendly and actionable -- a counterfactual explanation tells the user how to gain the desired prediction with minimal changes to the input. Besides, counterfactual explanations can also serve as efficient probes to the models' decisions. In this work, we exploit the potential of counterfactual explanations to understand and explore the behavior of machine learning models. We design DECE, an interactive visualization system that helps understand and explore a model's decisions on individual instances and data subsets, supporting users ranging from decision-subjects to model developers. DECE supports exploratory analysis of model decisions by combining the strengths of counterfactual explanations at instance- and subgroup-levels. We also introduce a set of interactions that enable users to customize the generation of counterfactual explanations to find more actionable ones that can suit their needs. Through three use cases and an expert interview, we demonstrate the effectiveness of DECE in supporting decision exploration tasks and instance explanations.


Counterfactual Explanations for Machine Learning: A Review

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning plays a role in many deployed decision systems, often in ways that are difficult or impossible to understand by human stakeholders. Explaining, in a human-understandable way, the relationship between the input and output of machine learning models is essential to the development of trustworthy machine-learning-based systems. A burgeoning body of research seeks to define the goals and methods of explainability in machine learning. In this paper, we seek to review and categorize research on counterfactual explanations, a specific class of explanation that provides a link between what could have happened had input to a model been changed in a particular way. Modern approaches to counterfactual explainability in machine learning draw connections to the established legal doctrine in many countries, making them appealing to fielded systems in high-impact areas such as finance and healthcare. Thus, we design a rubric with desirable properties of counterfactual explanation algorithms and comprehensively evaluate all currently-proposed algorithms against that rubric. Our rubric provides easy comparison and comprehension of the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches and serves as an introduction to major research themes in this field. We also identify gaps and discuss promising research directions in the space of counterfactual explainability.


Counterfactuals and Causability in Explainable Artificial Intelligence: Theory, Algorithms, and Applications

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

There has been a growing interest in model-agnostic methods that can make deep learning models more transparent and explainable to a user. Some researchers recently argued that for a machine to achieve a certain degree of human-level explainability, this machine needs to provide human causally understandable explanations, also known as causability. A specific class of algorithms that have the potential to provide causability are counterfactuals. This paper presents an in-depth systematic review of the diverse existing body of literature on counterfactuals and causability for explainable artificial intelligence. We performed an LDA topic modelling analysis under a PRISMA framework to find the most relevant literature articles. This analysis resulted in a novel taxonomy that considers the grounding theories of the surveyed algorithms, together with their underlying properties and applications in real-world data. This research suggests that current model-agnostic counterfactual algorithms for explainable AI are not grounded on a causal theoretical formalism and, consequently, cannot promote causability to a human decision-maker. Our findings suggest that the explanations derived from major algorithms in the literature provide spurious correlations rather than cause/effects relationships, leading to sub-optimal, erroneous or even biased explanations. This paper also advances the literature with new directions and challenges on promoting causability in model-agnostic approaches for explainable artificial intelligence.


Causal Interpretability for Machine Learning -- Problems, Methods and Evaluation

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Machine learning models have had discernible achievements in a myriad of applications. However, most of these models are black-boxes, and it is obscure how the decisions are made by them. This makes the models unreliable and untrustworthy. To provide insights into the decision making processes of these models, a variety of traditional interpretable models have been proposed. Moreover, to generate more human-friendly explanations, recent work on interpretability tries to answer questions related to causality such as "Why does this model makes such decisions?" or "Was it a specific feature that caused the decision made by the model?". In this work, models that aim to answer causal questions are referred to as causal interpretable models. The existing surveys have covered concepts and methodologies of traditional interpretability. In this work, we present a comprehensive survey on causal interpretable models from the aspects of the problems and methods. In addition, this survey provides in-depth insights into the existing evaluation metrics for measuring interpretability, which can help practitioners understand for what scenarios each evaluation metric is suitable.