Subgoal-Based Explanations for Unreliable Intelligent Decision Support Systems

Devleena Das, Been Kim, Sonia Chernova

Intelligent decision support (IDS) systems leverage artificial intelligence techniques to generate recommendations that guide human users through the decision making phases of a task. However, a key challenge is that IDS systems are not perfect, and in complex real-world scenarios may produce incorrect output or fail to work altogether. The field of explainable AI planning (XAIP) has sought to develop techniques that make the decision making of sequential decision making AI systems more explainable to end-users. Critically, prior work in applying XAIP techniques to IDS systems has assumed that the plan being proposed by the planner is always optimal, and therefore the action or plan being recommended as decision support to the user is always correct. In this work, we examine novice user interactions with a non-robust IDS system -- one that occasionally recommends the wrong action, and one that may become unavailable after users have become accustomed to its guidance. We introduce a novel explanation type, subgoal-based explanations, for planning-based IDS systems, that supplements traditional IDS output with information about the subgoal toward which the recommended action would contribute. We demonstrate that subgoal-based explanations lead to improved user task performance, improve user ability to distinguish optimal and suboptimal IDS recommendations, are preferred by users, and enable more robust user performance in the case of IDS failure

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