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What Do Conspiracy Theories And AI Explainability Have In Common?

May 4, 2021

In this piece, AI entrepreneur Kareem Saleh connects the broader social milieu to the field of Explainable AI in a compelling and enjoyable Forbes read. Borrowing Steven Colbert's neologism "truthiness" invented in his tenure on The Daily Show, Saleh draws a line between conspiracy thinking and explainability in the way that both construct a narrative that "sounds accurate and makes people comfortable but in reality can be far from the truth." In effect, it is a form of algorithmic storytelling, accessible only to domain experts (the developers). He also notes the downstream psychological effect on the scientist – having an explanation itself perpetuates a false sense of trust in the decisions made by AI, no matter their validity. The right mindset should start instead with a healthy dose of skepticism about a monolithic approach to explainability across models, building on themes we previously covered in Issue 5, Issue 4, and Issue 3.

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