The Importance of Explainability in AI

The Importance of Explainability in AI

In just the past year, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has experienced a revolutionary shift with the rise of ChatGPT. This breakthrough has not only propelled AI technology forward, but also raised general awareness about its capabilities, advancing domains like chatbots, image generation, and image recognition. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the daily flood of news and the pressure to implement such AI in your own organisation - even for those with some degree of understanding - and navigating this landscape can be daunting, which is why it’s more important than ever to understand the concept of ‘explainability’ in AI. Let's break it down:

The Importance of Explainability in AI

In AI, explainability refers to the ability to describe a model's decision-making process in a way that humans can understand. It is pivotal to tailor this explanation to the intended audience, whether it's a customer seeking clarity on a loan application denial or a doctor interpreting a diagnostic AI tool.

The Critical Need for Explainability

Explainability becomes especially vital when AI decisions significantly impact individuals and communities. This need spans across various sectors, including finance, legal, healthcare, and education. Understanding the rationale behind an AI's decision is not just a matter of curiosity, but of ethical and practical importance.

Classifying AI Models: From Glass Box to Black Box

AI models can generally be classified into two types: glass box models, which are highly explainable, and black box models, which, although well-understood in their construction, offer limited insight into their decision-making processes. Generative AI and deep learning models usually fall into the latter category, posing challenges in terms of explainability.

Addressing the Dilemma in Critical Industries

Imagine a scenario where AI decisions are pivotal, like determining the best treatment plan for a patient, making complex financial predictions, or providing sound legal advice. In these critical industries, the inability to fully understand how generative AI models arrive at their conclusions can present major hurdles. This lack of transparency raises significant questions and can limit the trust and acceptance of AI technologies.

Let's draw a parallel with the world of healthcare. Just like how medicines like Panadol are proven effective through rigorous trials, despite not having a comprehensive understanding of their underlying mechanisms, AI models can produce accurate results without us fully deciphering their internal processes. However, in critical industries, where the stakes are high and human lives and livelihoods are at stake, we need to strive for a deeper level of insight into AI decision-making.

Adopting Generative AI with Caution and Responsibility

So, how can we harness the power of generative AI in areas where explainability is crucial? The key lies in making well-informed decisions when selecting the right model for the job. It's important to remember that not every situation calls for generative AI; sometimes, a more transparent, glass box model may be a better fit. However, in cases where generative AI is the chosen route, understanding the training data and implementing techniques for improved explainability becomes paramount. By taking these proactive measures, we pave the way for responsible and effective deployment of generative AI.

The Path Forward: Testing, Human Involvement, and Transparency

Just like rigorous processes in the medical field help us comprehend new treatments, thorough testing and trials play a pivotal role in understanding generative AI models. This approach allows us to assess their effectiveness and identify potential risks. Additionally, by incorporating human oversight, we ensure continuous monitoring and evaluation of AI's decisions. Human involvement not only adds an extra layer of accountability but also provides valuable insights that machines alone may overlook.

And let's not forget about good AI governance and transparency! Openly discussing how AI models work and acknowledging their limitations not only builds trust with users but also fosters an environment for constructive feedback and improvement. Together, these strategies create a solid path forward, enabling us to unlock the full potential of generative AI while keeping responsible practices at the forefront.

Key Takeaways: The Importance of Explainability in AI

1. Concept of 'Explainability':

Explainability in AI refers to the ability to articulate a model's decision-making process in a way understandable to humans.

2. Critical Need Across Sectors:

Explainability is crucial when AI decisions significantly impact individuals and communities, spanning sectors like finance, legal, healthcare, and education.

3. Glass Box vs. Black Box Models:

AI models can be classified as glass box (highly explainable) or black box (limited insight). Generative AI and deep learning often fall into the black box category, posing challenges.

4. Dilemma in Critical Industries:

In critical industries, where AI decisions hold substantial weight, the lack of transparency in generative AI models poses challenges in terms of trust and acceptance.

5. Adopting Generative AI Responsibly:

The key lies in making informed decisions when choosing AI models. Not every situation requires generative AI; sometimes, transparent models may be more suitable. Understanding training data is crucial for responsible deployment.

6. Testing, Human Involvement, and Transparency:

Rigorous testing, trials, and human oversight are essential for comprehending generative AI models. Human involvement adds accountability and provides insights machines may overlook. Openly discussing AI models' workings and limitations fosters trust and constructive feedback.

Reference & Further Reading: https://aiforum.org.nz/knowledgehub/explainable-ai-building-trust-through-understanding/

Ming Cheuk, ElementX's CTO and Executive Council Member of the AI Forum, is a visionary leader with a background in Mechatronics and a PhD in Bioengineering. He's authored this insightful post highlighting Explainable AI's crucial role in AI integration, addressing challenges, and advocating for responsible adoption. Learn more about Ming and his contributions to the field of AI on ElementX's team page.
Back to blog