Towards Accountability in Machine Learning Applications: A System-Testing Approach

66 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2022

See all articles by Wayne Xinwei Wan

Wayne Xinwei Wan

University of Cambridge - Department of Land Economy

Thies Lindenthal

University of Cambridge

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2022

Abstract

A rapidly expanding universe of technology-focused startups is trying to change and improve the way real estate markets operate. The undisputed predictive power of machine learning (ML) models often plays a crucial role in the ‘disruption’ of traditional processes. However, an accountability gap prevails: How do the models arrive at their predictions? Do they do what we hope they do – or are corners cut? Training ML models is a software development process at heart. We suggest to follow a dedicated software testing framework and to verify that the ML model performs as intended. Illustratively, we augment two ML image classifiers with a system testing procedure based on local interpretable model-agnostic explanation (LIME) techniques. Analyzing the classifications sheds light on some of the factors that determine the behavior of the systems.

Keywords: machine learning, accountability gap, computer vision, real estate, urban studies

JEL Classification: C52, R30

Suggested Citation

Wan, Wayne Xinwei and Lindenthal, Thies, Towards Accountability in Machine Learning Applications: A System-Testing Approach (2022). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 22-001, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4031891 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4031891

Wayne Xinwei Wan (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Department of Land Economy ( email )

19 Silver Street
Cambridge, CB3 9EP
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://xinweiwan.weebly.com

Thies Lindenthal

University of Cambridge ( email )

Trinity Ln
Cambridge, CB2 1TN
United Kingdom

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