Optimizing AI for Teamwork

Gagan Bansal, Besmira Nushi, Ece Kamar, Eric Horvitz, Daniel S. Weld

In many high-stakes domains such as criminal justice, finance, and healthcare, AI systems may recommend actions to a human expert responsible for final decisions, a context known as AI-advised decision making. When AI practitioners deploy the most accurate system in these domains, they implicitly assume that the system will function alone in the world. We argue that the most accurate AI team-mate is not necessarily the em best teammate; for example, predictable performance is worth a slight sacrifice in AI accuracy. So, we propose training AI systems in a human-centered manner and directly optimizing for team performance. We study this proposal for a specific type of human-AI team, where the human overseer chooses to accept the AI recommendation or solve the task themselves. To optimize the team performance we maximize the team's expected utility, expressed in terms of quality of the final decision, cost of verifying, and individual accuracies. Our experiments with linear and non-linear models on real-world, high-stakes datasets show that the improvements in utility while being small and varying across datasets and parameters (such as cost of mistake), are real and consistent with our definition of team utility. We discuss the shortcoming of current optimization approaches beyond well-studied loss functions such as log-loss, and encourage future work on human-centered optimization problems motivated by human-AI collaborations.

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