Prominent theories in cognitive science propose that humans understand and represent the knowledge of the world through causal relationships. In making sense of the world, we build causal models in our mind to encode cause-effect relations of events and use these to explain why new events happen by referring to counterfactuals — things that did not happen. In this paper, we use causal models to derive causal explanations of the behaviour of model-free reinforcement learning agents. We present an approach that learns a structural causal model during reinforcement learning and encodes causal relationships between variables of interest. This model is then used to generate explanations of behaviour based on counterfactual analysis of the causal model. We computationally evaluate the model in 6 domains and measure performance and task prediction accuracy. We report on a study with 120 participants who observe agents playing a real-time strategy game (Starcraft II) and then receive explanations of the agents' behaviour. We investigate: 1) participants' understanding gained by explanations through task prediction; 2) explanation satisfaction and 3) trust. Our results show that causal model explanations perform better on these measures compared to two other baseline explanation models.
Published Date: 2020-06-02
Registration: ISSN 2374-3468 (Online) ISSN 2159-5399 (Print) ISBN 978-1-57735-835-0 (10 issue set)
Copyright: Published by AAAI Press, Palo Alto, California USA Copyright © 2020, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence All Rights Reserved