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The Mythos of Model Interpretability

Communications of the ACM

Supervised machine-learning models boast remarkable predictive capabilities. But can you trust your model? Will it work in deployment? What else can it tell you about the world? Models should be not only good, but also interpretable, yet the task of interpretation appears underspecified.


Human-in-the-Loop Interpretability Prior

Neural Information Processing Systems

We often desire our models to be interpretable as well as accurate. Prior work on optimizing models for interpretability has relied on easy-to-quantify proxies for interpretability, such as sparsity or the number of operations required. We develop an algorithm that minimizes the number of user studies to find models that are both predictive and interpretable and demonstrate our approach on several data sets. Our human subjects results show trends towards different proxy notions of interpretability on different datasets, which suggests that different proxies are preferred on different tasks. Papers published at the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference.


On the Semantic Interpretability of Artificial Intelligence Models

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence models are becoming increasingly more powerful and accurate, supporting or even replacing humans' decision making. But with increased power and accuracy also comes higher complexity, making it hard for users to understand how the model works and what the reasons behind its predictions are. Humans must explain and justify their decisions, and so do the AI models supporting them in this process, making semantic interpretability an emerging field of study. In this work, we look at interpretability from a broader point of view, going beyond the machine learning scope and covering different AI fields such as distributional semantics and fuzzy logic, among others. We examine and classify the models according to their nature and also based on how they introduce interpretability features, analyzing how each approach affects the final users and pointing to gaps that still need to be addressed to provide more human-centered interpretability solutions.


The Price of Interpretability

arXiv.org Machine Learning

When quantitative models are used to support decision-making on complex and important topics, understanding a model's ``reasoning'' can increase trust in its predictions, expose hidden biases, or reduce vulnerability to adversarial attacks. However, the concept of interpretability remains loosely defined and application-specific. In this paper, we introduce a mathematical framework in which machine learning models are constructed in a sequence of interpretable steps. We show that for a variety of models, a natural choice of interpretable steps recovers standard interpretability proxies (e.g., sparsity in linear models). We then generalize these proxies to yield a parametrized family of consistent measures of model interpretability. This formal definition allows us to quantify the ``price'' of interpretability, i.e., the tradeoff with predictive accuracy. We demonstrate practical algorithms to apply our framework on real and synthetic datasets.


Interpretability Sci-Fi: The Definition of Success

#artificialintelligence

The crew awoke to Ship's message: Rue glanced at the monitor – they'd been out for seven months this time. "Someday I'd like to know what exactly your definition of'interesting' is, Ship," Dariux grumbled. "Sometimes it seems like'interesting' just means likely to get me killed." "PREPARE FOR ON-PLANET EXPLORATION," Ship continued, giving no indication that it had heard or registered the complaint. Taera stood in the middle of hundreds of egg-like structures.