How to explain: from theory to practice

Sovrano, Francesco (2023) How to explain: from theory to practice, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Data science and computation, 34 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10943.
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Today we live in an age where the internet and artificial intelligence allow us to search for information through impressive amounts of data, opening up revolutionary new ways to make sense of reality and understand our world. However, it is still an area of improvement to exploit the full potential of large amounts of explainable information by distilling it automatically in an intuitive and user-centred explanation. For instance, different people (or artificial agents) may search for and request different types of information in a different order, so it is unlikely that a short explanation can suffice for all needs in the most generic case. Moreover, dumping a large portion of explainable information in a one-size-fits-all representation may also be sub-optimal, as the needed information may be scarce and dispersed across hundreds of pages. The aim of this work is to investigate how to automatically generate (user-centred) explanations from heterogeneous and large collections of data, with a focus on the concept of explanation in a broad sense, as a critical artefact for intelligence, regardless of whether it is human or robotic. Our approach builds on and extends Achinstein’s philosophical theory of explanations, where explaining is an illocutionary (i.e., broad but relevant) act of usefully answering questions. Specifically, we provide the theoretical foundations of Explanatory Artificial Intelligence (YAI), formally defining a user-centred explanatory tool and the space of all possible explanations, or explanatory space, generated by it. We present empirical results in support of our theory, showcasing the implementation of YAI tools and strategies for assessing explainability. To justify and evaluate the proposed theories and models, we considered case studies at the intersection of artificial intelligence and law, particularly European legislation. Our tools helped produce better explanations of software documentation and legal texts for humans and complex regulations for reinforcement learning agents.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Sovrano, Francesco
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Explanatory Artificial Intelligence (YAI) User-centred explanations Achinstein’s philosophical theory of explanations
Data di discussione
16 Giugno 2023

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