Explainable Artificial Intelligence - Demystifying the Hype

The field of Artificial Intelligence powered by Machine Learning and Deep Learning has gone through some phenomenal changes over the last decade. Starting off as just a pure academic and research-oriented domain, we have seen widespread industry adoption across diverse domains including retail, technology, healthcare, science and many more. More than often, the standard toolbox of machine learning, statistical or deep learning models remain the same. New models do come into existence like Capsule Networks, but industry adoption of the same usually takes several years. Hence, in the industry, the main focus of data science or machine learning is more ‘applied’ rather than theoretical and effective application of these models on the right data to solve complex real-world problems is of paramount importance.

A machine learning or deep learning model by itself consists of an algorithm which tries to learn latent patterns and relationships from data without hard-coding fixed rules. Hence, explaining how a model works to the business always poses its own set of challenges. There are some domains in the industry especially in the world of finance like insurance or banking where data scientists often end up having to use more traditional machine learning models (linear or tree-based). The reason being that model interpretability is very important for the business to explain each and every decision being taken by the model.However, this often leads to a sacrifice in performance. This is where complex models like ensembles and neural networks typically give us better and more accurate performance (since true relationships are rarely linear in nature).We, however, end up being unable to have proper interpretations for model decisions.

To address and talk about these gaps, I will take a conceptual yet hands-on approach where we will explore some of these challenges in-depth about explainable artificial intelligence (XAI) and human interpretable machine learning and even showcase with some examples using state-of-the-art model interpretation frameworks in Python!

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Outline/Structure of the Tutorial

The focus of this session is to demystify the hype behind the term 'Explainable AI' and talk about tangible concepts which can be leveraged using state-of-the-art tools and techniques to build human-interpretable models. We will be giving a conceptual overview of what Explainable AI or XAI entails followed by major strategies around XAI techniques. Once the audience gets some foundational knowledge around XAI, we will showcase some case-studies using hands-on examples in Python to build machine learning and deep learning models and leverage model interpretation and explanation strategies. Overall the talk will be structured as follows.

Part 1: The Importance of Human Interpretable Machine Learning

  • Understanding Machine Learning Model Interpretation
  • Importance of Machine Learning Model Interpretation
  • Criteria for Model Interpretation Methods
  • Scope of Model Interpretation

Part 2: Model Interpretation Strategies

  • Traditional Techniques for Model Interpretation
  • Challenges and Limitations of Traditional Techniques
  • The Accuracy vs. Interpretability trade-off
  • Model Interpretation Techniques

Part 3: Hands-on Model Interpretation — A comprehensive Guide

  • Hands-on guides on using the latest state-of-the-art model interpretation frameworks
  • Features, concepts and examples of using frameworks like ELI5, Skater and SHAP
  • Explore concepts and see them in action — Feature importances, partial dependence plots, surrogate models, interpretation and explanations with LIME, SHAP values
  • Hands-on Machine Learning Model Interpretation on a supervised learning example

Part 4: Hands-on Advanced Model Interpretation

  • Hands-on Model Interpretation on Unstructured Datasets
  • Advanced Model Interpretation on Deep Learning Models

Learning Outcome

Key Takeaways from this talk\tutorial

- Understand what is Explainable Artificial Intelligence

- Learn the latest and best techniques for building interpretable models and unbox the opacity of complex black-box models

- Learn how to leverage state-of-the-art model interpretation frameworks in Python

- Understand how to interpret models on both structured and unstructured data

Target Audience

Data Scientists, Engineers, Managers, AI Enthusiasts


Participants are expected to know what is AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning. Some basics around the Data Science lifecycle including data, features, modeling and evaluation.

Examples will be shown in Python so having a basic knowledge of Python helps.

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