Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come to prominence as one of the major components of our society, with applications in most aspects of our lives. In this field, complex and highly nonlinear machine learning models such as ensemble models, deep neural networks, and Support Vector Machines have consistently shown remarkable accuracy in solving complex tasks. Although accurate, AI models often are "black boxes" which we are not able to understand. Relying on these models has a multifaceted impact and raises significant concerns about their transparency. Applications in sensitive and critical domains are a strong motivational factor in trying to understand the behavior of black boxes. We propose to address this issue by providing an interpretable layer on top of black box models by aggregating "local" explanations. We present GLocalX, a "local-first" model agnostic explanation method. Starting from local explanations expressed in form of local decision rules, GLocalX iteratively generalizes them into global explanations by hierarchically aggregating them. Our goal is to learn accurate yet simple interpretable models to emulate the given black box, and, if possible, replace it entirely. We validate GLocalX in a set of experiments in standard and constrained settings with limited or no access to either data or local explanations. Experiments show that GLocalX is able to accurately emulate several models with simple and small models, reaching state-of-the-art performance against natively global solutions. Our findings show how it is often possible to achieve a high level of both accuracy and comprehensibility of classification models, even in complex domains with high-dimensional data, without necessarily trading one property for the other. This is a key requirement for a trustworthy AI, necessary for adoption in high-stakes decision making applications.
With increased interest in adopting AI methods for clinical diagnosis, a vital step towards safe deployment of such tools is to ensure that the models not only produce accurate predictions but also do not generalize to data regimes where the training data provide no meaningful evidence. Existing approaches for ensuring the distribution of model predictions to be similar to that of the true distribution rely on explicit uncertainty estimators that are inherently hard to calibrate. In this paper, we propose to train a loss estimator alongside the predictive model, using a contrastive training objective, to directly estimate the prediction uncertainties. Interestingly, we find that, in addition to producing well-calibrated uncertainties, this approach improves the generalization behavior of the predictor. Using a dermatology use-case, we show the impact of loss estimators on model generalization, in terms of both its fidelity on in-distribution data and its ability to detect out of distribution samples or new classes unseen during training.
Existing algorithms for explaining the output of image classifiers perform poorly on inputs where the object of interest is partially occluded. We present a novel, black-box algorithm for computing explanations that uses a principled approach based on causal theory. We implement the method in the tool CET (Compositional Explanation Tool). Owing to the compositionality in its algorithm, CET computes explanations that are much more accurate than those generated by the existing explanation tools on images with occlusions and delivers a level of performance comparable to the state of the art when explaining images without occlusions.
Political misinformation, astroturfing and organised trolling are online malicious behaviours with significant real-world effects. Many previous approaches examining these phenomena have focused on broad campaigns rather than the small groups responsible for instigating or sustaining them. To reveal latent (i.e., hidden) networks of cooperating accounts, we propose a novel temporal window approach that relies on account interactions and metadata alone. It detects groups of accounts engaging in various behaviours that, in concert, come to execute different goal-based strategies, a number of which we describe. The approach relies upon a pipeline that extracts relevant elements from social media posts, infers connections between accounts based on criteria matching the coordination strategies to build an undirected weighted network of accounts, which is then mined for communities exhibiting high levels of evidence of coordination using a novel community extraction method. We address the temporal aspect of the data by using a windowing mechanism, which may be suitable for near real-time application. We further highlight consistent coordination with a sliding frame across multiple windows and application of a decay factor. Our approach is compared with other recent similar processing approaches and community detection methods and is validated against two relevant datasets with ground truth data, using content, temporal, and network analyses, as well as with the design, training and application of three one-class classifiers built using the ground truth; its utility is furthermore demonstrated in two case studies of contentious online discussions.
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.
When we are faced with challenging image classification tasks, we often explain our reasoning by dissecting the image, and pointing out prototypical aspects of one class or another. The mounting evidence for each of the classes helps us make our final decision. In this work, we introduce a deep network architecture that reasons in a similar way: the network dissects the image by finding prototypical parts, and combines evidence from the prototypes to make a final classification. The model thus reasons in a way that is qualitatively similar to the way ornithologists, physicians, geologists, architects, and others would explain to people on how to solve challenging image classification tasks. The network uses only image-level labels for training, meaning that there are no labels for parts of images. We demonstrate our method on the CUB-200-2011 dataset and the CBIS-DDSM dataset. Our experiments show that our interpretable network can achieve comparable accuracy with its analogous standard non-interpretable counterpart as well as other interpretable deep models.
We introduce and tackle the problem of zero-shot object detection (ZSD), which aims to detect object classes which are not observed during training. We work with a challenging set of object classes, not restricting ourselves to similar and/or fine-grained categories as in prior works on zero-shot classification. We present a principled approach by first adapting visual-semantic embeddings for ZSD. We then discuss the problems associated with selecting a background class and motivate two background-aware approaches for learning robust detectors. One of these models uses a fixed background class and the other is based on iterative latent assignments. We also outline the challenge associated with using a limited number of training classes and propose a solution based on dense sampling of the semantic label space using auxiliary data with a large number of categories. We propose novel splits of two standard detection datasets - MSCOCO and VisualGenome, and present extensive empirical results in both the traditional and generalized zero-shot settings to highlight the benefits of the proposed methods. We provide useful insights into the algorithm and conclude by posing some open questions to encourage further research.
Machine Learning models become increasingly proficient in complex tasks. However, even for experts in the field, it can be difficult to understand what the model learned. This hampers trust and acceptance, and it obstructs the possibility to correct the model. There is therefore a need for transparency of machine learning models. The development of transparent classification models has received much attention, but there are few developments for achieving transparent Reinforcement Learning (RL) models. In this study we propose a method that enables a RL agent to explain its behavior in terms of the expected consequences of state transitions and outcomes. First, we define a translation of states and actions to a description that is easier to understand for human users. Second, we developed a procedure that enables the agent to obtain the consequences of a single action, as well as its entire policy. The method calculates contrasts between the consequences of a policy derived from a user query, and of the learned policy of the agent. Third, a format for generating explanations was constructed. A pilot survey study was conducted to explore preferences of users for different explanation properties. Results indicate that human users tend to favor explanations about policy rather than about single actions.
Over the last decade, Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) models have been highly successful in solving complex vision based problems. However, these deep models are perceived as "black box" methods considering the lack of understanding of their internal functioning. There has been a significant recent interest to develop explainable deep learning models, and this paper is an effort in this direction. Building on a recently proposed method called Grad-CAM, we propose a generalized method called Grad-CAM++ that can provide better visual explanations of CNN model predictions, in terms of better object localization as well as explaining occurrences of multiple object instances in a single image, when compared to state-of-the-art. We provide a mathematical derivation for the proposed method, which uses a weighted combination of the positive partial derivatives of the last convolutional layer feature maps with respect to a specific class score as weights to generate a visual explanation for the corresponding class label. Our extensive experiments and evaluations, both subjective and objective, on standard datasets showed that Grad-CAM++ provides promising human-interpretable visual explanations for a given CNN architecture across multiple tasks including classification, image caption generation and 3D action recognition; as well as in new settings such as knowledge distillation.
Deep models that are both effective and explainable are desirable in many settings; prior explainable models have been unimodal, offering either image-based visualization of attention weights or text-based generation of post-hoc justifications. We propose a multimodal approach to explanation, and argue that the two modalities provide complementary explanatory strengths. We collect two new datasets to define and evaluate this task, and propose a novel model which can provide joint textual rationale generation and attention visualization. Our datasets define visual and textual justifications of a classification decision for activity recognition tasks (ACT-X) and for visual question answering tasks (VQA-X). We quantitatively show that training with the textual explanations not only yields better textual justification models, but also better localizes the evidence that supports the decision. We also qualitatively show cases where visual explanation is more insightful than textual explanation, and vice versa, supporting our thesis that multimodal explanation models offer significant benefits over unimodal approaches.
Detecting objects and estimating their pose remains as one of the major challenges of the computer vision research community. There exists a compromise between localizing the objects and estimating their viewpoints. The detector ideally needs to be view-invariant, while the pose estimation process should be able to generalize towards the category-level. This work is an exploration of using deep learning models for solving both problems simultaneously. For doing so, we propose three novel deep learning architectures, which are able to perform a joint detection and pose estimation, where we gradually decouple the two tasks. We also investigate whether the pose estimation problem should be solved as a classification or regression problem, being this still an open question in the computer vision community. We detail a comparative analysis of all our solutions and the methods that currently define the state of the art for this problem. We use PASCAL3D+ and ObjectNet3D datasets to present the thorough experimental evaluation and main results. With the proposed models we achieve the state-of-the-art performance in both datasets.