Explanation as a Social Practice: Toward a Conceptual Framework for the Social Design of Al Systems

K.J. Rohlfing, P. Cimiano, I. Scharlau, T. Matzner, H.M. Buhl, H. Buschmeier, E. Esposito, A. Grimminger, B. Hammer, R. Haeb-Umbach, I. Horwath, E. Huellermeier, F. Kern, S. Kopp, K. Thommes, A.-C. Ngonga Ngomo, C. Schulte, H. Wachsmuth, P. Wagner, B. Wrede, IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Development Systems 13 (2021) 717–728.

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The recent surge of interest in explainability in artificial intelligence (XAI) is propelled by not only technological advancements in machine learning but also by regulatory initiatives to foster transparency in algorithmic decision making. In this article, we revise the current concept of explainability and identify three limitations: passive explainee, narrow view on the social process, and undifferentiated assessment of explainee’s understanding. In order to overcome these limitations, we present explanation as a social practice in which explainer and explainee co-construct understanding on the microlevel. We view the co-construction on a microlevel as embedded into a macrolevel, yielding expectations concerning, e.g., social roles or partner models: typically, the role of the explainer is to provide an explanation and to adapt it to the current level of explainee’s understanding; the explainee, in turn, is expected to provide cues that direct the explainer. Building on explanations being a social practice, we present a conceptual framework that aims to guide future research in XAI. The framework relies on the key concepts of monitoring and scaffolding to capture the development of interaction. We relate our conceptual framework and our new perspective on explaining to transparency and autonomy as objectives considered for XAI.
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Journal Title
IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Development Systems
Volume
13
Issue
3
Page
717-728
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Rohlfing KJ, Cimiano P, Scharlau I, et al. Explanation as a Social Practice: Toward a Conceptual Framework for the Social Design of Al Systems. IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Development Systems. 2021;13(3):717-728. doi:10.1109/TCDS.2020.3044366
Rohlfing, K. J., Cimiano, P., Scharlau, I., Matzner, T., Buhl, H. M., Buschmeier, H., Esposito, E., Grimminger, A., Hammer, B., Haeb-Umbach, R., Horwath, I., Huellermeier, E., Kern, F., Kopp, S., Thommes, K., Ngonga Ngomo, A.-C., Schulte, C., Wachsmuth, H., Wagner, P., & Wrede, B. (2021). Explanation as a Social Practice: Toward a Conceptual Framework for the Social Design of Al Systems. IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Development Systems, 13(3), 717–728. https://doi.org/10.1109/TCDS.2020.3044366
@article{Rohlfing_Cimiano_Scharlau_Matzner_Buhl_Buschmeier_Esposito_Grimminger_Hammer_Haeb-Umbach_et al._2021, title={Explanation as a Social Practice: Toward a Conceptual Framework for the Social Design of Al Systems}, volume={13}, DOI={10.1109/TCDS.2020.3044366}, number={3}, journal={IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Development Systems}, author={Rohlfing, Katharina J. and Cimiano, Philipp and Scharlau, Ingrid and Matzner, Tobias and Buhl, Heike M. and Buschmeier, Hendrik and Esposito, Elena and Grimminger, Angela and Hammer, Barbara and Haeb-Umbach, Reinhold and et al.}, year={2021}, pages={717–728} }
Rohlfing, Katharina J., Philipp Cimiano, Ingrid Scharlau, Tobias Matzner, Heike M. Buhl, Hendrik Buschmeier, Elena Esposito, et al. “Explanation as a Social Practice: Toward a Conceptual Framework for the Social Design of Al Systems.” IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Development Systems 13, no. 3 (2021): 717–28. https://doi.org/10.1109/TCDS.2020.3044366.
K. J. Rohlfing et al., “Explanation as a Social Practice: Toward a Conceptual Framework for the Social Design of Al Systems,” IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Development Systems, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 717–728, 2021, doi: 10.1109/TCDS.2020.3044366.
Rohlfing, Katharina J., et al. “Explanation as a Social Practice: Toward a Conceptual Framework for the Social Design of Al Systems.” IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Development Systems, vol. 13, no. 3, 2021, pp. 717–28, doi:10.1109/TCDS.2020.3044366.
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