Yoshua Bengio emphasizes: Deep Learning needs Deep Understanding !

Yoshua BENGIO from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) emphasized during his workshop talk “towards disentangling underlying explanatory factors”  (cool title) at the ICML 2018 in Stockholm, that the key for success in AI/machine learning is to understand the explanatory/causal factors and mechanisms. This means generalizing beyond identical independent data (i.i.d.) – and this is crucial for our domain in medcial AI, because current machine learning theories and models are strongly dependent on this iid assumption, but applications in the real-world (we see this in the medical domain every day!) often require learning and generalizing in areas simply not seen during the training epoch. Humans interestingly are able to protect themselves in such situations, even in situations which they have never seen before. Here a longer talk (1:17:04) at Microsoft Research Redmond on January, 22, 2018 – awesome – enjoy the talk, I recommend it cordially to all of my students!

Explainable AI Session Keynote: Randy GOEBEL

We just had our keynote by Randy GOEBEL from the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), working on enhnancing understanding and innovation in artificial intelligence:

You can see his slides with friendly permission of Randy here (pdf, 2,680 kB):

Here you can read a preprint of our joint paper of our explainable ai session (pdf, 835 kB):
GOEBEL et al (2018) Explainable-AI-the-new-42
Randy Goebel, Ajay Chander, Katharina Holzinger, Freddy Lecue, Zeynep Akata, Simone Stumpf, Peter Kieseberg & Andreas Holzinger. Explainable AI: the new 42? Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science LNCS 11015, 2018 Cham. Springer, 295-303, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-99740-7_21.

Here is the link to our session homepage:

amii is part of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, and conducts leading-edge research to push the bounds of academic knowledge, and forging business collaborations both locally and internationally to create innovative, adaptive solutions to the toughest problems facing Alberta and the world in Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning.

Here some snapshots:

R.G. (Randy) Goebel is Professor of Computing Science at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and concurrently holds the positions of Associate Vice President Research, and Associate Vice President Academic. He is also co-founder and principle investigator in the Alberta Innovates Centre for Machine Learning. He holds B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of Regina, Alberta, and British Columbia, and has held faculty appointments at the University of Waterloo, University of Tokyo, Multimedia University (Malaysia), Hokkaido University, and has worked at a variety of research institutes around the world, including DFKI (Germany), NICTA (Australia), and NII (Tokyo), was most recently Chief Scientist at Alberta Innovates Technology Futures. His research interests include applications of machine learning to systems biology, visualization, and web mining, as well as work on natural language processing, web semantics, and belief revision. He has experience working on industrial research projects in scheduling, optimization, and natural language technology applications.

Here is Randy’s homepage at the University of Alberta:

The University of Alberta at Edmonton hosts approximately 39k students from all around the world and is among the five top universities in Canada and togehter with Toronto and Montreal THE center in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

IEEE DISA 2018 in Kosice

The IEEE DISA 2018 World Symposium on Digital Intelligence for Systems and Machines was organized by the TU Kosice:

Here you can download my keynote presentation  (see title and abstract below)
a) 4 Slides per page (pdf, 5,280 kB):

b) 1 slide per page (pdf, 8,198 kB):

c) and here the link to the paper (IEEE Xplore)
From Machine Learning to Explainable AI

d) and here the link to the video recording

Title: Explainable AI: Augmenting Human Intelligence with Artificial Intelligence and v.v

Abstract: Explainable AI is not a new field. Rather, the problem of explainability is as old as AI itself. While rule‐based approaches of early AI are comprehensible “glass‐box” approaches at least in narrow domains, their weakness was in dealing with uncertainties of the real world. The introduction of probabilistic learning methods has made AI increasingly successful. Meanwhile deep learning approaches even exceed human performance in particular tasks. However, such approaches are becoming increasingly opaque, and even if we understand the underlying mathematical principles of such models they lack still explicit declarative knowledge. For example, words are mapped to high‐dimensional vectors, making them unintelligible to humans. What we need in the future are context‐adaptive procedures, i.e. systems that construct contextual explanatory models for classes of real‐world phenomena.
Maybe one step is in linking probabilistic learning methods with large knowledge representations (ontologies), thus allowing to understand how a machine decision has been reached, making results re‐traceable, explainable and comprehensible on demand ‐ the goal of explainable AI.




Investigating Human Priors for Playing Video Games

The group around Tom GRIFFITHS *) from the Cognitive Science Lab at Berkeley recently asked in their paper by Rachit Dubey, Pulkit Agrawal, Deepak Pathak, Thomas L. Griffiths & Alexei A. Efros 2018. Investigating Human Priors for Playing Video Games. arXiv:1802.10217:  “What makes humans so good at solving seemingly complex video games?”.

(Spoiler short answer in advance: we don’t know – but we can gradually improve our understanding on this topic).

The authors did cool work on investigating the role of human priors for solving video games. On the basis of a specific game, they conducted a series of ablation-studies to quantify the importance of various priors on human performance. For this purpose they modifyied the video game environment to systematically mask different types of visual information that could be used by humans as prior data. The authors found that removal of some prior knowledge causes a drastic degradation in the speed with which human players solve the game, e.g. from 2 minutes to over 20 minutes. Their results indicate that general priors, such as the importance of objects and visual consistency, are critical for efficient game-play.

Read the original paper here:

Or at least glance it over via the ArxiV sanity preserver by Andrew KARPATHY:

Videos and the game manipulations are available here:

*) Tom Griffiths is Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science and is interested in developing mathematical models of higher level cognition, and understanding the formal principles that underlie human ability to solve the computational problems we face in everyday life. His current focus is on inductive problems, such as probabilistic reasoning, learning causal relationships, acquiring and using language, and inferring the structure of categories. He tries to analyze these aspects of human cognition by comparing human behavior to optimal or “rational” solutions to the underlying computational problems. For inductive problems, this usually means exploring how ideas from artificial intelligence, machine learning, and statistics (particularly Bayesian statistics) connect to human cognition.

See the homepage of Tom here:

Microsoft boosts Explainable AI

Microsoft invests into explainable AI and acquired on June, 20, 2018 Bonsai, a California start-up, which was founded by Mark HAMMOND and Keen BROWNE in 2014. Watch an excellent introduction “Programming your way to explainable AI” by Mark HAMMOND here:

and read read the original story about the acquisition here:

“No one really knows how the most advanced algorithms do what they do. That could be a problem.” Will KNIGHT in “The dark secret of the heart of AI”

The Problem with explainable-AI

A very nice and interesting article by Rudina SESERI in the recent TechCrunch blog (read the orginal blog entry below): at first Rudina points out that the main problem is in data; and yes, indeed, data should always be the first consideration. We consider it a big problem that successful ML approaches (e.g. the mentioned deep learning, our PhD students can tell you a thing or two about it 😉 greatly benefit from big data (the bigger the better) with many training sets; However, it certain domain, e.g. in the health domain we sometimes are confronted with a small number of data sets or rare events, where we suffer of insufficient training samples [1]. This calls for more research towards how we can learn from little data (zero-shot learning), similar as we humans do: Rudina does not need to show her children 10 million samples of a dog and a cat, so that her children can safely discriminate a dog from a cat. However, what I miss in this article is something different, the word trust. Can we trust our machine learning results? [2] Whilst, for sure we do not need to explain everything all the time, we need possibilities to make machine decisions transparent on demand and to check if something could be plausible. Consequently, Explainable AI can be very important to foster trust in machine learning specifically and artificial intelligence generally.





Google Brain says Explainability is the “new deep learning”

There is a very interesting interview in the Talking Machines*) series from May, 31, 2018. Katherine GORMAN interviews Maithra RAGHU **) from the Google Brain Team, where she mentioned that “explainability is the new deep learning”, and it is particularly important for health informatics, where it is important to re-trace, re-enact and to understand and explain why a machine decision has been reached. This is super for us, because when I tell my students that this is important, nobody believes me; but now I can emphasize that not I am saying that, but Google Brain is saying it. Excellent.

However, the whole field needs a lot of work, before we can provide useable solutions for the end-user in daily routine (e.g. a medical doctor); urgently needed are approaches to explainable User Interfaces and most of all a research framework for testing explainability.

*) Talking Machine is an excellent, highly recommendable Podcast series, founded by Katharine GORMAN and Ryan ADAMS in 2015 and now run by Katharine together with Neil LAWRENCE (who leads the Amazon Research in Cambridge, UK).

**) Maithra RAGHU is currently a PhD working with Jon KLEINBERG at Cornell (see ), where she is doing extended research with the Google Brain Team, see:
Maithra has published some very interesting papers, e.g.: Maithra Raghu, Justin Gilmer, Jason Yosinski & Jascha Sohl-Dickstein. SVCCA: Singular Vector Canonical Correlation Analysis for Deep Learning Dynamics and Interpretability. Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems, 2017. 6078-6087.
or this is also very interesting:
Ben Poole, Subhaneil Lahiri, Maithra Raghu, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein & Surya Ganguli. Exponential expressivity in deep neural networks through transient chaos. Advances in neural information processing systems, 2016. 3360-3368.

Google Brain says we urgently need a Research Framework around the field of interpretability

In a recent interview Been KIM from the Google Brain team emphasizes the significance of research in explainable AI. Particularly, she emphasized the importance of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) for Artificial Intelligence generally and Machine Learning specifically (see the differences between AI and ML here), and the urgent need of an research framework around the field of interpretability. Listen to the episode six of season four of Talking Machines by Katherine GORMAN and Neil LAWRENCE here (Start at approx. 26:00):

Been KIM is a research scientist at the Google Brain team and is interested in designing machine learning methods that  make sense to humans. Her current focus is building interpretability methods for already-trained models (e.g., high performance neural networks). In particular, she believes that the language of explanations should include higher-level, human-friendly concepts.  Been gave a tutorial on explainable AI at ICML 2017 and recently the group published the paper: Menaka Narayanan, Emily Chen, Jeffrey He, Been Kim, Sam Gershman & Finale Doshi-Velez 2018. How do Humans Understand Explanations from Machine Learning Systems? An Evaluation of the Human-Interpretability of Explanation. arXiv:1802.00682.

“Machine Learning for Health Informatics” Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 9605 > 40,626 downloads 2017

Since its online publication on December 10, 2016 the Volume edited by Andreas Holzinger “Machine Learning for Health Informatics” Springer Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence LNAI Volume 9605, has been downloaded 54,960 times as of today (May, 11, 2018, 20:00 CEST) and 44,988 with status as of April 2018 according to the official Springer Bookmetrix book performance report – a record; and alone in the year 2017 40,626 downloads, which is 10 times higher than a typical volume of the series of Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence by Springer/Nature. A cordial thank you for my international colleagues for this huge acceptance!

A popular passage from the book:

Update on 15th September 2018: 63k downloads


AI will change Radiology – NOT replace Radiologists

After the rather shocking statement of Geoffrey HINTON during the Machine Learning and Market for Intelligence Conference in Toronto, where he recommended that hospitals should stop training radiologists, because deep learning will replace them (watch video below), on March, 27, 2018 Thomas H. DAVENPORT and Keith J. DREYER published a really nice article on “AI will change radiology, but it won’t replace radiologists” (see [1]) – which supports our human-in-the-loop approach: for sure, AI/machine learning (difference here) will change workflows, but we envision that the expert will be augmented by new technologies, i.e. routine (boring) tasks will be replaced by automatic algorithms, but this will free up expert time to spent on challenging (cool) tasks and more research – and there are plenty of problems where we need human intelligence!