Flexible and Context-Specific AI Explainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach
66 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2020 Last revised: 3 Sep 2020
Date Written: March 23, 2020
The recent enthusiasm for artificial intelligence (AI) is due principally to advances in deep learning. Deep learning methods are remarkably accurate, but also opaque, which limits their potential use in safety-critical applications. To achieve trust and accountability, designers and operators of machine learning algorithms must be able to explain the inner workings, the results and the causes of failures of algorithms to users, regulators, and citizens. The originality of this paper is to combine technical, legal and economic aspects of explainability to develop a framework for defining the "right" level of explainability in a given context. We propose three logical steps: First, define the main contextual factors, such as who the audience of the explanation is, the operational context, the level of harm that the system could cause, and the legal/regulatory framework. This step will help characterize the operational and legal needs for explanation, and the corresponding social benefits. Second, examine the technical tools available, including post hoc approaches (input perturbation, saliency maps...) and hybrid AI approaches. Third, as function of the first two steps, choose the right levels of global and local explanation outputs, taking into the account the costs involved. We identify seven kinds of costs and emphasize that explanations are socially useful only when total social benefits exceed costs.
Keywords: artificial intelligence, AI, explainability, interpretability, neural networks, hybrid AI, law, regulation, safety, liability, fairness, accountability, cost-benefit analysis
JEL Classification: K23, K13, D61, D63
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation