How Explainable AI can Unlock Accountable and Ethical Development of Artificial Intelligence

Sudeep Srivastava December 12, 2023
explainable ai benefits

With transformative moments that combine innovation and ingenuity, such as the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November 2022, the vision of AI controlling our lives is not science fiction anymore.

The watershed moment of ChatGPT’s launch ushered in what the industry calls the ‘AI Cambrian Explosion.’

However, it’s about more than just using AI for business gains, which is the current focal point of this explosion. At the heart of this evolution is a call to focus on AI explainability. That will ensure that advancements in AI are both powerful and transparent— which is fundamental for ethical AI development.

Artificial intelligence is already making decisions for us in many fields. But not understanding how AI is reaching those decisions remains a bottleneck. This is one explainable AI benefit that entrepreneurs and tech experts cannot afford to ignore.

As the technology progresses, the challenge of tech experts is twofold: to push the boundaries of what AI can achieve while ensuring that its workings are transparent, accountable, and ethically sound. This highlights the role of explainable AI in modern technology.

AI in modern technology

The Economic Potential of AI

Generative AI’s potential to revolutionize productivity isn’t just theoretical; it’s set to have tangible economic ramifications on a global scale. According to a June 2023 report titled “The economic potential of generative AI: The next productivity frontier” published by McKinsey, generative AI could add a value ranging from $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion annually across the 63 analyzed use cases. There are also explainable AI use cases that can benefit industries in multiple novel ways.

Also read: How Generative AI for Business is Shaping the Industries

The Washington Post reported that over 11,000 companies have utilized the OpenAI tools provided by Microsoft’s cloud division, highlighting the adoption trends accompanying this potential. These numbers represent opportunities and responsibilities for tech leaders navigating this evolving landscape.

As AI’s transformative potential becomes evident, there is an ever-increasing emphasis on explainable AI principles, ensuring these powerful tools operate with clarity, oversight, and ethical considerations. Explainable AI applications are slated to become a cornerstone in the tech industry.

Yet, understanding explainable AI benefits and other related facets is just the beginning. Therefore, before we discuss the nuances of Explainable AI development in detail, we must first understand why it is essential.

The Mystery of AI Models: Navigating the ‘Black Box’

The Mystery of AI Models: Navigating the Black Box

As with all significant advancements, AI brings challenges and risks, some profoundly related to its structure. One such facet of this mystery is a ‘black box.’ Representing a closed operational model which works, but even the developers are sometimes unable to explain how it works. This is known as the black box conundrum in the AI industry.

This lack of transparency is unacceptable for many, especially those responsible for crucial business or societal decisions. An AI that functions without explainability risks eroding trust, especially when physical and material loss is possible.

Unforeseen Consequences: When AI Goes Off the Rails

The consequences of unexplained AI decisions can range from minor inefficiencies to significant societal implications. Consider the financial sector: an AI system might deny a loan to an individual without providing a clear rationale.

Such a decision, devoid of transparency, can lead to legal complications and reputational damage. On a larger scale, in healthcare, an inscrutable AI might prioritize one patient over another for treatment, with life-altering or even life-ending ramifications.

Real-World Examples of Unexpected AI Results and Mishaps

Several incidents highlight the unforeseen consequences of AI. The tragic 2018 incident involving Uber’s self-driving car underscores the dire implications when AI misinterprets its environment. A prominent healthcare algorithm found to have a racial bias is a stark reminder that AI, however advanced, can inadvertently perpetuate human biases if not adequately understood and monitored.

The list goes on, from Microsoft’s Tay, that tweeted things such as “Hitler was right,” to an American national receiving exuberant credit card bills. Without guardrails and the ability to interpret the decisions made by AI, such instances will keep happening, hence the call for explainability.

The Business Case: Explainable AI Benefits

As AI systems increasingly drive ambitions, their inherent opaqueness has stirred conversations around the imperative for transparency. Beyond just the technical discourse, there is a robust business rationale underpinning the adoption of explainable AI. Here are the various explainable AI benefits for businesses across industries.

Benefits of focusing on explainable AI development

  • Stakeholder Engagement and Confidence: Transparent AI decision-making processes can foster a more profound sense of involvement and assurance among internal teams and external partners.
  • Proactive Issue Resolution: Before issues escalate, explainable AI can highlight potential areas of concern, enabling timely interventions and solutions.
  • Tailored Marketing and Sales Initiatives: Businesses can craft more personalized and effective campaigns by understanding the ‘why’ behind AI-driven consumer insights.
  • Greater Financial Oversight: When AI-driven financial models and forecasts are transparent, potential anomalies or growth areas can be more readily identified and addressed.
  • Enhancing Brand Reputation: Companies known for ethical and transparent AI deployments will likely enjoy a heightened brand reputation.
  • Streamlined Supply Chain Management: With clear AI-driven insights, supply chain processes can be optimized more effectively, from inventory management to logistics.
  • Attracting Investment: For investors, the transparency in AI can signify a company’s commitment to responsible innovation, making it a more attractive investment proposition.
  • Empowering Non-Technical Teams: Explainable AI ensures that AI-driven insights and decisions are accessible and actionable for teams without deep technical expertise, fostering cross-departmental collaboration.

As companies navigate the complex landscape of the modern era, relying on black-box solutions can be a gamble. The infusion of transparency into AI processes is not just a technological upgrade; it’s a business necessity, ensuring that every AI-backed move aligns with broader organizational objectives and values, signifying the role of explainable AI. These are also explainable AI use cases that entrepreneurs and AI developers usually focus on.

The Blueprint for an Explainable AI Model

Now that the impact of AI in our everyday lives is becoming more apparent with each passing day, it becomes crucial to ensure that the machines we trust with critical decisions are accurate and transparent in their workings.

Developing an explainable AI model isn’t just about coding; it’s a process that involves strategic planning, rigorous testing, and iterative refinement based on explainable AI principles and explainable AI tools. Here is a step-by-step guide and explainable AI techniques that ensure that the AI models we develop are explainable and interpretable while also being legally compliant.

  • Understanding the Problem Domain: Before diving into model development, we clearly understand the problem domain and the stakeholders involved. What do users expect? What decisions will the AI make, and what impact will these decisions have are some of the questions to which we find the answers.
  • Selecting Appropriate Data: The quality and relevancy of data directly influence the AI’s ability to be accurate and explainable. In our AI model development, we ensure that data is clean, diverse, and free from biases.
  • Choosing the Right Model: While some models, like deep neural networks, are more complex and harder to interpret, others, like decision trees or linear regression, can offer more transparency. We choose a balance between complexity and clarity while developing explainable AI models.
  • Iterative Testing: We regularly test the model with varied data sets to ensure consistent performance. Feedback from these tests can inform refinements and improvements.
  • Integrating Explainability Tools: Tools like LIME or SHAP help break down model predictions, offering insights into which features influenced a particular decision.
  • Documentation: Comprehensive documentation assists us in model verification, validation, and deployment. It ensures all stakeholders understand the AI’s workings and limitations, from developers to end-users.

View our top-notch AI development services

Balancing Model Performance with Interpretability

One of the most significant challenges in explainable AI software development is balancing a model’s performance and interpretability. While complex models might deliver higher accuracy, they often do so at the cost of transparency. Conversely, simpler models might be easier to understand but might not effectively capture the nuances within data. To strike the right balance, we consider the following:

  • Model Simplicity vs. Complexity: We determine the minimum level of complexity required to achieve satisfactory performance. If a simpler model suffices, it might be a better choice for ensuring explainability.
  • Use of Explainability Techniques: Techniques like feature importance ranking or model-agnostic methods can help make complex models more interpretable.
  • Feedback Loop: We maintain an ongoing feedback loop with end-users to understand if the AI’s decisions are clear and if there’s room for enhancing transparency.

While the journey to achieving explainable AI may seem intricate, it’s necessary. As we further integrate AI into our systems and processes, ensuring these high-performing and transparent models will be crucial for sustained trust and efficiency.

How can Appinventiv Help you in Developing Explainable AI Models?

Having almost nine years of experience developing AI products, we at Appinventiv understand the various intricacies related to AI model development and explainable AI benefits. Having developed numerous AI-based platforms and apps, including Mudra (an AI-powered personal finance app), our engineers have the domain expertise and the oversight to move toward explainable AI development.

Whatever your AI project is, we, as a leading AI development company, can unlock interpretability and explainability for your AI model so that you can confidently trust the decisions made by the models. Get in touch today to embark on the journey to responsible AI.

Frequently asked questions

Q. What is explainable AI?

A. Explainable AI is a paradigm shift in AI development that calls for the development of AI models in such a manner that the decisions made by the AI model can be retraced and the users can understand how the AI model is making decisions.

Q. How does explainable AI work?

A. Explainable AI works by integrating key elements of explainability into the AI models during development that can help determine how an AI model has reached a particular decision.

Q. Why is explainable AI important?

A. Explainable AI is important because not understanding how an AI model is making decisions for us can lead to some dire consequences and in the worst cases, can mean tangible harm to companies or users of the AI model in question.

Sudeep Srivastava
Co-Founder and Director
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