Generating User-Centred Explanations via Illocutionary Question Answering: From Philosophy to Interfaces [article]

Francesco Sovrano, Fabio Vitali
2022 arXiv   pre-print
We propose a new method for generating explanations with AI and a tool to test its expressive power within a user interface. In order to bridge the gap between philosophy and human-computer interfaces, we show a new approach for the generation of interactive explanations based on a sophisticated pipeline of AI algorithms for structuring natural language documents into knowledge graphs, answering questions effectively and satisfactorily. With this work we aim to prove that the philosophical
more » ... y of explanations presented by Achinstein can be actually adapted for being implemented into a concrete software application, as an interactive and illocutionary process of answering questions. Specifically, our contribution is an approach to frame illocution in a computer-friendly way, to achieve user-centrality with statistical question answering. Indeed, we frame the illocution of an explanatory process as that mechanism responsible for anticipating the needs of the explainee in the form of unposed, implicit, archetypal questions, hence improving the user-centrality of the underlying explanatory process. Therefore, we hypothesise that if an explanatory process is an illocutionary act of providing content-giving answers to questions, and illocution is as we defined it, the more explicit and implicit questions can be answered by an explanatory tool, the more usable its explanations. We tested our hypothesis with a user-study involving more than 60 participants, on two XAI-based systems, one for credit approval and one for heart disease prediction. The results showed that increasing the illocutionary power of an explanatory tool can produce statistically significant improvements on effectiveness. This, combined with a visible alignment between the increments in effectiveness and satisfaction, suggests that our understanding of illocution can be correct, giving evidence in favour of our theory.
arXiv:2110.00762v2 fatcat:5ovvpnezqnelnaigxnooshhvcm