Fairwashing Explanations with Off-Manifold Detergent

Jul 12, 2020



Explanation methods promise to make black-box classifiers more transparent. As a result, it is hoped that they can act as proof for a sensible, fair and trustworthy decision-making process of the algorithm and thereby increase its acceptance by the end-users. In this paper, we show both theoretically and experimentally that these hopes are presently unfounded. Specifically, we show that, for any classifier g, one can always construct another classifier g̃ which has the same behavior on the data (same train, validation, and test error) but has arbitrarily manipulated explanation maps. We derive this statement theoretically using differential geometry and demonstrate it experimentally for various explanation methods, architectures, and datasets. Motivated by our theoretical insights, we then propose a modification of existing explanation methods which makes them significantly more robust.



About ICML 2020

The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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