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A typology for exploring the mitigation of shortcut behaviour

A preprint version of the article is available at arXiv.

Abstract

As machine learning models become larger, and are increasingly trained on large and uncurated datasets in weakly supervised mode, it becomes important to establish mechanisms for inspecting, interacting with and revising models. These are necessary to mitigate shortcut learning effects and to guarantee that the model’s learned knowledge is aligned with human knowledge. Recently, several explanatory interactive machine learning methods have been developed for this purpose, but each has different motivations and methodological details. In this work, we provide a unification of various explanatory interactive machine learning methods into a single typology by establishing a common set of basic modules. We discuss benchmarks and other measures for evaluating the overall abilities of explanatory interactive machine learning methods. With this extensive toolbox, we systematically and quantitatively compare several explanatory interactive machine learning methods. In our evaluations, all methods are shown to improve machine learning models in terms of accuracy and explainability. However, we found remarkable differences in individual benchmark tasks, which reveal valuable application-relevant aspects for the integration of these benchmarks in the development of future methods.

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Fig. 1: The XIL typology.
Fig. 2: Qualitative inspection of explanations.
Fig. 3: Evaluation of interaction efficiency and performance in unconfounding a pretrained model.
Fig. 4: An RRR-revised model and a HINT-revised model generate explanations for an ISIC19 image with confounder.

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Data availability

All datasets are publicly available. We have two benchmark datasets in which we add a confounder/shortcut, that is we adjust the original dataset and a scientific dataset where the confounder is not artificially added but inherently present in the images. The MNIST dataset is available at http://yann.lecun.com/exdb/mnist/ and the code to generate its decoy version at https://github.com/dtak/rrr/blob/master/experiments/Decoy%20MNIST.ipynb. The FMNIST dataset is available at https://github.com/zalandoresearch/fashion-mnist and the code to generate its decoy version at https://github.com/ml-research/A-Typology-to-Explore-the-Mitigation-of-Shortcut-Behavior/blob/main/data_store/rawdata/load_decoy_mnist.py. The scientific ISIC dataset and its segmentation masks to highlight the confounders are both available at https://isic-archive.com/api/v1/.

Code availability

All the code37,38,39,40,41 to reproduce the figures and results of this article can be found at https://github.com/ml-research/A-Typology-to-Explore-the-Mitigation-of-Shortcut-Behavior (archived at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6781501). The CD algorithm is implemented at https://github.com/csinva/hierarchical-dnn-interpretations. Furthermore, other implementations of the evaluated XIL algorithms can be found in the following repositories: RRR at https://github.com/dtak/rrr, CDEP at https://github.com/laura-rieger/deep-explanation-penalization and CE at https://github.com/stefanoteso/calimocho.

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Acknowledgements

We thank L. Meister for preliminary results and insights on this research. This work benefited from the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts (HMWK) projects ‘The Third Wave of Artificial Intelligence—3AI’, hessian.AI (F.F., W.S., P.S., K.K.) and ‘The Adaptive Mind’ (K.K.), the ICT-48 Network of AI Research Excellence Centre ‘TAILOR’ (EU Horizon 2020, GA No 952215) (K.K.), the Hessian research priority program LOEWE within the project WhiteBox (K.K.), and from the German Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) project ‘SAINT’ (P.S., K.K.).

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F.F., W.S. and P.S. designed the experiments. F.F. conducted the experiments. F.F., W.S., P.S. and K.K. interpreted the data and drafted the manuscript. K.K. directed the research and gave initial input. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Felix Friedrich.

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Nature Machine Intelligence thanks Mengnan Du and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Friedrich, F., Stammer, W., Schramowski, P. et al. A typology for exploring the mitigation of shortcut behaviour. Nat Mach Intell 5, 319–330 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42256-023-00612-w

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