If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
Autonomous cyber-physical agents and systems play an increasingly large role in our lives. To ensure that agents behave in ways aligned with the values of the societies in which they operate, we must develop techniques that allow these agents to not only maximize their reward in an environment, but also to learn and follow the implicit constraints of society. These constraints and norms can come from any number of sources including regulations, business process guidelines, laws, ethical principles, social norms, and moral values. We detail a novel approach that uses inverse reinforcement learning to learn a set of unspecified constraints from demonstrations of the task, and reinforcement learning to learn to maximize the environment rewards. More precisely, we assume that an agent can observe traces of behavior of members of the society but has no access to the explicit set of constraints that give rise to the observed behavior. Inverse reinforcement learning is used to learn such constraints, that are then combined with a possibly orthogonal value function through the use of a contextual bandit-based orchestrator that picks a contextually-appropriate choice between the two policies (constraint-based and environment reward-based) when taking actions. The contextual bandit orchestrator allows the agent to mix policies in novel ways, taking the best actions from either a reward maximizing or constrained policy. In addition, the orchestrator is transparent on which policy is being employed at each time step. We test our algorithms using a Pac-Man domain and show that the agent is able to learn to act optimally, act within the demonstrated constraints, and mix these two functions in complex ways.
Preference are central to decision making by both machines and humans. Representing, learning, and reasoning with preferences is an important area of study both within computer science and across the sciences. When working with preferences it is necessary to understand and compute the distance between sets of objects, e.g., the preferences of a user and a the descriptions of objects to be recommended. We present CPDist, a novel neural network to address the problem of learning to measure the distance between structured preference representations. We use the popular CP-net formalism to represent preferences and then leverage deep neural networks to learn a recently proposed metric function that is computationally hard to compute directly. CPDist is a novel metric learning approach based on the use of deep siamese networks which learn the Kendal Tau distance between partial orders that are induced by compact preference representations. We find that CPDist is able to learn the distance function with high accuracy and outperform existing approximation algorithms on both the regression and classification task using less computation time. Performance remains good even when CPDist is trained with only a small number of samples compared to the dimension of the solution space, indicating the network generalizes well.
AI systems that learn through reward feedback about the actions they take are increasingly deployed in domains that have significant impact on our daily life. However, in many cases the online rewards should not be the only guiding criteria, as there are additional constraints and/or priorities imposed by regulations, values, preferences, or ethical principles. We detail a novel online agent that learns a set of behavioral constraints by observation and uses these learned constraints as a guide when making decisions in an online setting while still being reactive to reward feedback. To define this agent, we propose to adopt a novel extension to the classical contextual multi-armed bandit setting and we provide a new algorithm called Behavior Constrained Thompson Sampling (BCTS) that allows for online learning while obeying exogenous constraints. Our agent learns a constrained policy that implements the observed behavioral constraints demonstrated by a teacher agent, and then uses this constrained policy to guide the reward-based online exploration and exploitation. We characterize the upper bound on the expected regret of the contextual bandit algorithm that underlies our agent and provide a case study with real world data in two application domains. Our experiments show that the designed agent is able to act within the set of behavior constraints without significantly degrading its overall reward performance.
Srivastava, Biplav, Rossi, Francesca
A new wave of decision-support systems are being built today using AI services that draw insights from data (like text and video) and incorporate them in human-in-the-loop assistance. However, just as we expect humans to be ethical, the same expectation needs to be met by automated systems that increasingly get delegated to act on their behalf. A very important aspect of an ethical behavior is to avoid (intended, perceived, or accidental) bias. Bias occurs when the data distribution is not representative enough of the natural phenomenon one wants to model and reason about. The possibly biased behavior of a service is hard to detect and handle if the AI service is merely being used and not developed from scratch, since the training data set is not available. In this situation, we envisage a 3rd party rating agency that is independent of the API producer or consumer and has its own set of biased and unbiased data, with customizable distributions. We propose a 2-step rating approach that generates bias ratings signifying whether the AI service is unbiased compensating, data-sensitive biased, or biased. The approach also works on composite services. We implement it in the context of text translation and report interesting results.
If we want AI systems to make decisions, or to support humans in making them, we need to make sure they are aware of the ethical principles that are involved in such decisions, so they can guide towards decisions that are conform to the ethical principles. Complex decisions that we make on a daily basis are based on our own subjective preferences over the possible options. In this respect, the CP-net formalism is a convenient and expressive way to model preferences over decisions with multiple features. However, often the subjective preferences of the decision makers may need to be checked against exogenous priorities such as those provided by ethical principles, feasibility constraints, or safety regulations. Hence, it is essential to have principled ways to evaluate if preferences are compatible with such priorities. To do this, we describe also such priorities via CP-nets and we define a notion of distance between the ordering induced by two CPnets. We also provide tractable approximation algorithms for computing the distance and we define a procedure that uses the distance to check if the preferences are close enough to the ethical principles. We then provide an experimental evaluation showing that the quality of the decision with respect to the subjective preferences does not significantly degrade when conforming to the ethical principles.
Recently a large attention has been devoted to the ethical issues arising around the design and the implementation of artificial agents. This is due to the fact that humans and machines more and more often need to collaborate to decide on actions to take or decisions to make. Such decisions should be not only correct and optimal from the point of view of the overall goal to be reached, but should also agree to some form of moral values which are aligned to the human ones. Examples of such scenarios can be seen in autonomous vehicles, medical diagnosis support systems, and many other domains, where humans and artificial intelligent systems cooperate. One of the main issues arising in this context regards ways to model and reason with moral values. In this paper we discuss the possible use of AI compact preference models as a promising approach to model, reason, and embed moral values in decision support systems.
Greene, Joshua (Harvard University) | Rossi, Francesca (University of Padova and IBM T. J. Watson) | Tasioulas, John (King's College London) | Venable, Kristen Brent (Tulane University and IHMC) | Williams, Brian (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
The future will see autonomous machines acting in the same environment as humans, in areas as diverse as driving, assistive technology, and health care. Think of self-driving cars, companion robots, and medical diagnosis support systems. We also believe that humans and machines will often need to work together and agree on common decisions. Thus hybrid collective decision making systems will be in great need. In this scenario, both machines and collective decision making systems should follow some form of moral values and ethical principles (appropriate to where they will act but always aligned to humans'), as well as safety constraints. In fact, humans would accept and trust more machines that behave as ethically as other humans in the same environment. Also, these principles would make it easier for machines to determine their actions and explain their behavior in terms understandable by humans. Moreover, often machines and humans will need to make decisions together, either through consensus or by reaching a compromise. This would be facilitated by shared moral values and ethical principles.
Russell, Stuart (University of California, Berkeley) | Dietterich, Tom (Oregon State University) | Horvitz, Eric (Microsoft) | Selman, Bart (Cornell University) | Rossi, Francesca (University of Padova) | Hassabis, Demis (DeepMind) | Legg, Shane (DeepMind) | Suleyman, Mustafa (DeepMind) | George, Dileep (Vicarious) | Phoenix, Scott (Vicarious)
The adoption of probabilistic and decision-theoretic representations and statistical learning methods has led to a large degree of integration and cross-fertilization among AI, machine learning, statistics, control theory, neuroscience, and other fields. The progress in AI research makes it timely to focus research not only on making AI more capable, but also on maximizing the societal benefit of AI. We recommend expanded research aimed at ensuring that increasingly capable AI systems are robust and beneficial: our AI systems must do what we want them to do. In summary, we believe that research on how to make AI systems robust and beneficial is both important and timely, and that there are concrete research directions that can be pursued today.