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A historical perspective of explainable Artificial Intelligence

Confalonieri, R., Coba, L., Wagner, B. & Besold, T. R. (2021). A historical perspective of explainable Artificial Intelligence. WIREs Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, 11(1), article number e1391. doi: 10.1002/widm.1391


Explainability in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been revived as a topic of active research by the need of conveying safety and trust to users in the “how” and “why” of automated decision-making in different applications such as autonomous driving, medical diagnosis, or banking and finance. While explainability in AI has recently received significant attention, the origins of this line of work go back several decades to when AI systems were mainly developed as (knowledge-based) expert systems. Since then, the definition, understanding, and implementation of explainability have been picked up in several lines of research work, namely, expert systems, machine learning, recommender systems, and in approaches to neural-symbolic learning and reasoning, mostly happening during different periods of AI history. In this article, we present a historical perspective of Explainable Artificial Intelligence. We discuss how explainability was mainly conceived in the past, how it is understood in the present and, how it might be understood in the future. We conclude the article by proposing criteria for explanations that we believe will play a crucial role in the development of human-understandable explainable systems.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, providedthe original work is properly cited.© 2020 The Authors.WIREs Data Mining and Knowledge Discoverypublished by Wiley Periodicals LLC.
Publisher Keywords: explainable AI, explainable recommender systems, interpretable machine learning, neural-symbolic reasoning
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
SWORD Depositor:
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