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Cognitive Model Priors for Predicting Human Decisions2019-05-22   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Human decision-making underlies all economic behavior. For the past four decades, human decision-making under uncertainty has continued to be explained by theoretical models based on prospect theory, a framework that was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. However, theoretical models of this kind have developed slowly, and robust, high-precision predictive models of human decisions remain a challenge. While machine learning is a natural candidate for solving these problems, it is currently unclear to what extent it can improve predictions obtained by current theories. We argue that this is mainly due to data scarcity, since noisy human behavior requires massive sample sizes to be accurately captured by off-the-shelf machine learning methods. To solve this problem, what is needed are machine learning models with appropriate inductive biases for capturing human behavior, and larger datasets. We offer two contributions towards this end: first, we construct "cognitive model priors" by pretraining neural networks with synthetic data generated by cognitive models (i.e., theoretical models developed by cognitive psychologists). We find that fine-tuning these networks on small datasets of real human decisions results in unprecedented state-of-the-art improvements on two benchmark datasets. Second, we present the first large-scale dataset for human decision-making, containing over 240,000 human judgments across over 13,000 decision problems. This dataset reveals the circumstances where cognitive model priors are useful, and provides a new standard for benchmarking prediction of human decisions under uncertainty.
BehavDT: A Behavioral Decision Tree Learning to Build User-Centric Context-Aware Predictive Model2019-12-17   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
This paper formulates the problem of building a context-aware predictive model based on user diverse behavioral activities with smartphones. In the area of machine learning and data science, a tree-like model as that of decision tree is considered as one of the most popular classification techniques, which can be used to build a data-driven predictive model. The traditional decision tree model typically creates a number of leaf nodes as decision nodes that represent context-specific rigid decisions, and consequently may cause overfitting problem in behavior modeling. However, in many practical scenarios within the context-aware environment, the generalized outcomes could play an important role to effectively capture user behavior. In this paper, we propose a behavioral decision tree, "BehavDT" context-aware model that takes into account user behavior-oriented generalization according to individual preference level. The BehavDT model outputs not only the generalized decisions but also the context-specific decisions in relevant exceptional cases. The effectiveness of our BehavDT model is studied by conducting experiments on individual user real smartphone datasets. Our experimental results show that the proposed BehavDT context-aware model is more effective when compared with the traditional machine learning approaches, in predicting user diverse behaviors considering multi-dimensional contexts.
Predicting human decisions with behavioral theories and machine learning2019-04-15   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Behavioral decision theories aim to explain human behavior. Can they help predict it? An open tournament for prediction of human choices in fundamental economic decision tasks is presented. The results suggest that integration of certain behavioral theories as features in machine learning systems provides the best predictions. Surprisingly, the most useful theories for prediction build on basic properties of human and animal learning and are very different from mainstream decision theories that focus on deviations from rational choice. Moreover, we find that theoretical features should be based not only on qualitative behavioral insights (e.g. loss aversion), but also on quantitative behavioral foresights generated by functional descriptive models (e.g. Prospect Theory). Our analysis prescribes a recipe for derivation of explainable, useful predictions of human decisions.
Automatic Discovery of Interpretable Planning Strategies2020-05-24   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
When making decisions, people often overlook critical information or are overly swayed by irrelevant information. A common approach to mitigate these biases is to provide decision-makers, especially professionals such as medical doctors, with decision aids, such as decision trees and flowcharts. Designing effective decision aids is a difficult problem. We propose that recently developed reinforcement learning methods for discovering clever heuristics for good decision-making can be partially leveraged to assist human experts in this design process. One of the biggest remaining obstacles to leveraging the aforementioned methods for improving human decision-making is that the policies they learn are opaque to people. To solve this problem, we introduce AI-Interpret: a general method for transforming idiosyncratic policies into simple and interpretable descriptions. Our algorithm combines recent advances in imitation learning and program induction with a new clustering method for identifying a large subset of demonstrations that can be accurately described by a simple, high-performing decision rule. We evaluate our new AI-Interpret algorithm and employ it to translate information-acquisition policies discovered through metalevel reinforcement learning. The results of three large behavioral experiments showed that the provision of decision rules as flowcharts significantly improved people's planning strategies and decisions across three different classes of sequential decision problems. Furthermore, a series of ablation studies confirmed that our AI-Interpret algorithm was critical to the discovery of interpretable decision rules and that it is ready to be applied to other reinforcement learning problems. We conclude that the methods and findings presented in this article are an important step towards leveraging automatic strategy discovery to improve human decision-making.
When Does Uncertainty Matter?: Understanding the Impact of Predictive Uncertainty in ML Assisted Decision Making2020-11-11   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
As machine learning (ML) models are increasingly being employed to assist human decision makers, it becomes critical to provide these decision makers with relevant inputs which can help them decide if and how to incorporate model predictions into their decision making. For instance, communicating the uncertainty associated with model predictions could potentially be helpful in this regard. However, there is little to no research that systematically explores if and how conveying predictive uncertainty impacts decision making. In this work, we carry out user studies to systematically assess how people respond to different types of predictive uncertainty i.e., posterior predictive distributions with different shapes and variances, in the context of ML assisted decision making. To the best of our knowledge, this work marks one of the first attempts at studying this question. Our results demonstrate that people are more likely to agree with a model prediction when they observe the corresponding uncertainty associated with the prediction. This finding holds regardless of the properties (shape or variance) of predictive uncertainty (posterior predictive distribution), suggesting that uncertainty is an effective tool for persuading humans to agree with model predictions. Furthermore, we also find that other factors such as domain expertise and familiarity with ML also play a role in determining how someone interprets and incorporates predictive uncertainty into their decision making.
Behavior-Based Machine-Learning: A Hybrid Approach for Predicting Human Decision Making2016-11-30   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
A large body of work in behavioral fields attempts to develop models that describe the way people, as opposed to rational agents, make decisions. A recent Choice Prediction Competition (2015) challenged researchers to suggest a model that captures 14 classic choice biases and can predict human decisions under risk and ambiguity. The competition focused on simple decision problems, in which human subjects were asked to repeatedly choose between two gamble options. In this paper we present our approach for predicting human decision behavior: we suggest to use machine learning algorithms with features that are based on well-established behavioral theories. The basic idea is that these psychological features are essential for the representation of the data and are important for the success of the learning process. We implement a vanilla model in which we train SVM models using behavioral features that rely on the psychological properties underlying the competition baseline model. We show that this basic model captures the 14 choice biases and outperforms all the other learning-based models in the competition. The preliminary results suggest that such hybrid models can significantly improve the prediction of human decision making, and are a promising direction for future research.
Transparent Interpretation with Knockouts2020-11-01   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
How can we find a subset of training samples that are most responsible for a complicated black-box machine learning model prediction? More generally, how can we explain the model decision to end-users in a transparent way? We propose a new model-agnostic algorithm to identify a minimum number of training samples that are indispensable for a given model decision at a particular test point, as the model decision would otherwise change upon the removal of these training samples. In line with the counterfactual explanation, our algorithm identifies such a set of indispensable samples iteratively by solving a constrained optimization problem. Further, we efficiently speed up the algorithm through approximation. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the algorithm, we apply it to a variety of tasks including data poisoning detection, training set debugging, and understanding loan decisions. Results show that our algorithm is an effective and easy to comprehend tool to help better understand local model behaviors and therefore facilitate the application of machine learning in domains where such understanding is a requisite and where end-users do not have a machine learning background.
Optimal Decision Lists using SAT2020-10-19   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Decision lists are one of the most easily explainable machine learning models. Given the renewed emphasis on explainable machine learning decisions, this machine learning model is increasingly attractive, combining small size and clear explainability. In this paper, we show for the first time how to construct optimal "perfect" decision lists which are perfectly accurate on the training data, and minimal in size, making use of modern SAT solving technology. We also give a new method for determining optimal sparse decision lists, which trade off size and accuracy. We contrast the size and test accuracy of optimal decisions lists versus optimal decision sets, as well as other state-of-the-art methods for determining optimal decision lists. We also examine the size of average explanations generated by decision sets and decision lists.
Manipulation-Proof Machine Learning2020-04-08   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
An increasing number of decisions are guided by machine learning algorithms. In many settings, from consumer credit to criminal justice, those decisions are made by applying an estimator to data on an individual's observed behavior. But when consequential decisions are encoded in rules, individuals may strategically alter their behavior to achieve desired outcomes. This paper develops a new class of estimator that is stable under manipulation, even when the decision rule is fully transparent. We explicitly model the costs of manipulating different behaviors, and identify decision rules that are stable in equilibrium. Through a large field experiment in Kenya, we show that decision rules estimated with our strategy-robust method outperform those based on standard supervised learning approaches.
Inverse Multiobjective Optimization Through Online Learning2020-10-12   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We study the problem of learning the objective functions or constraints of a multiobjective decision making model, based on a set of sequentially arrived decisions. In particular, these decisions might not be exact and possibly carry measurement noise or are generated with the bounded rationality of decision makers. In this paper, we propose a general online learning framework to deal with this learning problem using inverse multiobjective optimization. More precisely, we develop two online learning algorithms with implicit update rules which can handle noisy data. Numerical results show that both algorithms can learn the parameters with great accuracy and are robust to noise.
Melding the Data-Decisions Pipeline: Decision-Focused Learning for Combinatorial Optimization2018-11-20   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Creating impact in real-world settings requires artificial intelligence techniques to span the full pipeline from data, to predictive models, to decisions. These components are typically approached separately: a machine learning model is first trained via a measure of predictive accuracy, and then its predictions are used as input into an optimization algorithm which produces a decision. However, the loss function used to train the model may easily be misaligned with the end goal, which is to make the best decisions possible. Hand-tuning the loss function to align with optimization is a difficult and error-prone process (which is often skipped entirely). We focus on combinatorial optimization problems and introduce a general framework for decision-focused learning, where the machine learning model is directly trained in conjunction with the optimization algorithm to produce high-quality decisions. Technically, our contribution is a means of integrating common classes of discrete optimization problems into deep learning or other predictive models, which are typically trained via gradient descent. The main idea is to use a continuous relaxation of the discrete problem to propagate gradients through the optimization procedure. We instantiate this framework for two broad classes of combinatorial problems: linear programs and submodular maximization. Experimental results across a variety of domains show that decision-focused learning often leads to improved optimization performance compared to traditional methods. We find that standard measures of accuracy are not a reliable proxy for a predictive model's utility in optimization, and our method's ability to specify the true goal as the model's training objective yields substantial dividends across a range of decision problems.
Interpreting Deep Learning Model Using Rule-based Method2020-10-15   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Deep learning models are favored in many research and industry areas and have reached the accuracy of approximating or even surpassing human level. However they've long been considered by researchers as black-box models for their complicated nonlinear property. In this paper, we propose a multi-level decision framework to provide comprehensive interpretation for the deep neural network model. In this multi-level decision framework, by fitting decision trees for each neuron and aggregate them together, a multi-level decision structure (MLD) is constructed at first, which can approximate the performance of the target neural network model with high efficiency and high fidelity. In terms of local explanation for sample, two algorithms are proposed based on MLD structure: forward decision generation algorithm for providing sample decisions, and backward rule induction algorithm for extracting sample rule-mapping recursively. For global explanation, frequency-based and out-of-bag based methods are proposed to extract important features in the neural network decision. Furthermore, experiments on the MNIST and National Free Pre-Pregnancy Check-up (NFPC) dataset are carried out to demonstrate the effectiveness and interpretability of MLD framework. In the evaluation process, both functionally-grounded and human-grounded methods are used to ensure credibility.
Embedded Bayesian Network Classifiers2019-10-21   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Low-dimensional probability models for local distribution functions in a Bayesian network include decision trees, decision graphs, and causal independence models. We describe a new probability model for discrete Bayesian networks, which we call an embedded Bayesian network classifier or EBNC. The model for a node $Y$ given parents $\bf X$ is obtained from a (usually different) Bayesian network for $Y$ and $\bf X$ in which $\bf X$ need not be the parents of $Y$. We show that an EBNC is a special case of a softmax polynomial regression model. Also, we show how to identify a non-redundant set of parameters for an EBNC, and describe an asymptotic approximation for learning the structure of Bayesian networks that contain EBNCs. Unlike the decision tree, decision graph, and causal independence models, we are unaware of a semantic justification for the use of these models. Experiments are needed to determine whether the models presented in this paper are useful in practice.
Learning Representations for Axis-Aligned Decision Forests through Input Perturbation2020-07-29   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Axis-aligned decision forests have long been the leading class of machine learning algorithms for modeling tabular data. In many applications of machine learning such as learning-to-rank, decision forests deliver remarkable performance. They also possess other coveted characteristics such as interpretability. Despite their widespread use and rich history, decision forests to date fail to consume raw structured data such as text, or learn effective representations for them, a factor behind the success of deep neural networks in recent years. While there exist methods that construct smoothed decision forests to achieve representation learning, the resulting models are decision forests in name only: They are no longer axis-aligned, use stochastic decisions, or are not interpretable. Furthermore, none of the existing methods are appropriate for problems that require a Transfer Learning treatment. In this work, we present a novel but intuitive proposal to achieve representation learning for decision forests without imposing new restrictions or necessitating structural changes. Our model is simply a decision forest, possibly trained using any forest learning algorithm, atop a deep neural network. By approximating the gradients of the decision forest through input perturbation, a purely analytical procedure, the decision forest directs the neural network to learn or fine-tune representations. Our framework has the advantage that it is applicable to any arbitrary decision forest and that it allows the use of arbitrary deep neural networks for representation learning. We demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of our proposal through experiments on synthetic and benchmark classification datasets.
Amortized Bayesian model comparison with evidential deep learning2020-04-25   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Comparing competing mathematical models of complex natural processes is a shared goal among many branches of science. The Bayesian probabilistic framework offers a principled way to perform model comparison and extract useful metrics for guiding decisions. However, many interesting models are intractable with standard Bayesian methods, as they lack a closed-form likelihood function or the likelihood is computationally too expensive to evaluate. With this work, we propose a novel method for performing Bayesian model comparison using specialized deep learning architectures. Our method is purely simulation-based and circumvents the step of explicitly fitting all alternative models under consideration to each observed dataset. Moreover, it involves no hand-crafted summary statistics of the data and is designed to amortize the cost of simulation over multiple models and observable datasets. This makes the method applicable in scenarios where model fit needs to be assessed for a large number of datasets, so that per-dataset inference is practically infeasible. Finally, we propose a novel way to measure epistemic uncertainty in model comparison problems. We argue that this measure of epistemic uncertainty provides a unique proxy to quantify absolute evidence even in a framework which assumes that the true data-generating model is within a finite set of candidate models.
Learning to Make Predictions In Partially Observable Environments Without a Generative Model2014-01-16   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
When faced with the problem of learning a model of a high-dimensional environment, a common approach is to limit the model to make only a restricted set of predictions, thereby simplifying the learning problem. These partial models may be directly useful for making decisions or may be combined together to form a more complete, structured model. However, in partially observable (non-Markov) environments, standard model-learning methods learn generative models, i.e. models that provide a probability distribution over all possible futures (such as POMDPs). It is not straightforward to restrict such models to make only certain predictions, and doing so does not always simplify the learning problem. In this paper we present prediction profile models: non-generative partial models for partially observable systems that make only a given set of predictions, and are therefore far simpler than generative models in some cases. We formalize the problem of learning a prediction profile model as a transformation of the original model-learning problem, and show empirically that one can learn prediction profile models that make a small set of important predictions even in systems that are too complex for standard generative models.
Exploiting Uncertainties from Ensemble Learners to Improve Decision-Making in Healthcare AI2020-07-12   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Ensemble learning is widely applied in Machine Learning (ML) to improve model performance and to mitigate decision risks. In this approach, predictions from a diverse set of learners are combined to obtain a joint decision. Recently, various methods have been explored in literature for estimating decision uncertainties using ensemble learning; however, determining which metrics are a better fit for certain decision-making applications remains a challenging task. In this paper, we study the following key research question in the selection of uncertainty metrics: when does an uncertainty metric outperforms another? We answer this question via a rigorous analysis of two commonly used uncertainty metrics in ensemble learning, namely ensemble mean and ensemble variance. We show that, under mild assumptions on the ensemble learners, ensemble mean is preferable with respect to ensemble variance as an uncertainty metric for decision making. We empirically validate our assumptions and theoretical results via an extensive case study: the diagnosis of referable diabetic retinopathy.
On State Variables, Bandit Problems and POMDPs2020-02-14   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
State variables are easily the most subtle dimension of sequential decision problems. This is especially true in the context of active learning problems (bandit problems") where decisions affect what we observe and learn. We describe our canonical framework that models {\it any} sequential decision problem, and present our definition of state variables that allows us to claim: Any properly modeled sequential decision problem is Markovian. We then present a novel two-agent perspective of partially observable Markov decision problems (POMDPs) that allows us to then claim: Any model of a real decision problem is (possibly) non-Markovian. We illustrate these perspectives using the context of observing and treating flu in a population, and provide examples of all four classes of policies in this setting. We close with an indication of how to extend this thinking to multiagent problems.
Generic Prediction Architecture Considering both Rational and Irrational Driving Behaviors2019-07-23   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Accurately predicting future behaviors of surrounding vehicles is an essential capability for autonomous vehicles in order to plan safe and feasible trajectories. The behaviors of others, however, are full of uncertainties. Both rational and irrational behaviors exist, and the autonomous vehicles need to be aware of this in their prediction module. The prediction module is also expected to generate reasonable results in the presence of unseen and corner scenarios. Two types of prediction models are typically used to solve the prediction problem: learning-based model and planning-based model. Learning-based model utilizes real driving data to model the human behaviors. Depending on the structure of the data, learning-based models can predict both rational and irrational behaviors. But the balance between them cannot be customized, which creates challenges in generalizing the prediction results. Planning-based model, on the other hand, usually assumes human as a rational agent, i.e., it anticipates only rational behavior of human drivers. In this paper, a generic prediction architecture is proposed to address various rationalities in human behavior. We leverage the advantages from both learning-based and planning-based prediction models. The proposed approach is able to predict continuous trajectories that well-reflect possible future situations of other drivers. Moreover, the prediction performance remains stable under various unseen driving scenarios. A case study under a real-world roundabout scenario is provided to demonstrate the performance and capability of the proposed prediction architecture.
SegNBDT: Visual Decision Rules for Segmentation2020-06-11   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
The black-box nature of neural networks limits model decision interpretability, in particular for high-dimensional inputs in computer vision and for dense pixel prediction tasks like segmentation. To address this, prior work combines neural networks with decision trees. However, such models (1) perform poorly when compared to state-of-the-art segmentation models or (2) fail to produce decision rules with spatially-grounded semantic meaning. In this work, we build a hybrid neural-network and decision-tree model for segmentation that (1) attains neural network segmentation accuracy and (2) provides semi-automatically constructed visual decision rules such as "Is there a window?". We obtain semantic visual meaning by extending saliency methods to segmentation and attain accuracy by leveraging insights from neural-backed decision trees, a deep learning analog of decision trees for image classification. Our model SegNBDT attains accuracy within ~2-4% of the state-of-the-art HRNetV2 segmentation model while also retaining explainability; we achieve state-of-the-art performance for explainable models on three benchmark datasets -- Pascal-Context (49.12%), Cityscapes (79.01%), and Look Into Person (51.64%). Furthermore, user studies suggest visual decision rules are more interpretable, particularly for incorrect predictions. Code and pretrained models can be found at https://github.com/daniel-ho/SegNBDT.