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What is Explainable AI (XAI)!! Do you know its next stage of AI ?

Explainable AI (XAI) is a branch of AI research that focuses on developing machine learning models that can be easily understood and explained by humans. The goal of XAI is to create models that are transparent, interpretable, and accountable, making it possible for humans to understand why the model is making certain predictions.

This is important because many modern machine learning models, such as deep neural networks, are considered “black boxes” because it is difficult to understand how they arrive at their predictions. This lack of transparency can be a problem in sensitive applications, such as medical diagnosis or criminal justice, where it is important to understand the reasoning behind a model’s decisions.

There are a number of different techniques that can be used to achieve XAI. Some approaches involve modifying the model architecture to make it more interpretable, while others involve post-hoc methods to explain the model’s decision. Some common methods include:

  • Feature importance: a technique used to understand which features of input data drive the most importance in decision making
  • Sensitivity analysis: a technique used to understand how the model’s prediction would change if certain features or inputs are changed
  • LIME, SHAP and other similar methods that try to explain the model’s decisions by approximating it with a simpler model that can be more easily understood.

XAI is a relatively new field, and there is ongoing research in developing new techniques and methods to make AI more transparent and interpretable.

Some of the techniques used in XAI:

1.) Feature importance: One way to understand how a model is making decisions is to examine which features of the input data are most important. There are many methods for measuring feature importance, such as permutation importance and SHAP values, which can be used to rank the importance of different features for a specific prediction. Feature importance can help to identify which aspects of the input are most relevant to the model’s decision and provide insights into how the model is working.

One way to compute feature importance using scikit-learn is to use the permutation_importance method from the sklearn.inspection module. Here’s an example of how to use it to compute feature importance for a random forest classifier:

from sklearn.ensemble import RandomForestClassifier
from sklearn.inspection import permutation_importance

# train the model
clf = RandomForestClassifier(), y_train)

# compute feature importance
result = permutation_importance(clf, X_test, y_test, n_repeats=10, random_state=0)

# print the importance of each feature
for i, feature in enumerate(X_test.columns):
print(f"{feature}: {result.importances[i]}")

2.) Sensitivity analysis: Sensitivity analysis is a technique that can be used to determine how a model’s predictions change when certain inputs are varied. The idea is to measure the model’s response to small changes in the input data, and observe how the predictions change. This can help to identify which inputs are most critical to the model’s decision and provide insight into how the model is processing the data.

here’s an example of how to perform sensitivity analysis in Python using the SensitivityAnalysis class from the sklearn.inspection module in scikit-learn:

from sklearn.inspection import SensitivityAnalysis
from sklearn.linear_model import LogisticRegression

# train the model
clf = LogisticRegression(), y_train)

# create the sensitivity analysis object
sa = SensitivityAnalysis(clf, X_test, y_test)

# perform the analysis

# print the results
for i, feature in enumerate(X_test.columns):
print(f"{feature}: {sa.scores_[i]}")

In this example, we first train a logistic regression model clf using the training data, then we create a SensitivityAnalysis object sa passing the trained model and test data as input, Finally we fit the object to perform the sensitivity analysis and print the results of the analysis in the form of sensitivity scores of each feature.

In practice, the sensitivity analysis is often performed in a loop, where the model is retrained with different values for the feature of interest. This allows you to see how the model’s predictions change as a function of the input feature, which can give you a more detailed understanding of how the model is processing the data.

It’s important to note that, sensitivity analysis is a powerful tool for understanding how a model’s predictions change when the input features are varied, it helps you to identify which features are important for the model’s decision making. However, it can be computationally expensive if you have a lot of instances in your dataset. Additionally, the specific interpretation of the results is problem dependent and it is important to evaluate the results in the context of the problem you are working on.

3.)Local interpretable model-agnostic explanations (LIME) and SHapley Additive exPlanations (SHAP): These are two examples of post-hoc explanation methods, meaning they do not change the model itself, but they use the trained model and provide an explanation based on some approximations. Both LIME and SHAP aim to explain the predictions of any classifier, They do so by approximating the classifier locally with an interpretable model. The LIME method explains the predictions of any classifier by training an interpretable model locally around the explanation instance, so the model is only trying to explain the decision around that instance. SHAP, on the other hand, rely on game theory to compute the importance of each feature on the prediction, It use the expected value of a function to explain the prediction.

Another way to compute LIME explanation for any model is to use the LimeExplainer class from the lime package. Here’s an example of how to use it to explain a prediction made by a linear regression model:

from lime.lime_tabular import LimeTabularExplainer
from sklearn.linear_model import LinearRegression

# train the model
clf = LinearRegression(), y_train)

# create the explainer
explainer = LimeTabularExplainer(X_train, feature_names=X_train.columns)

# pick an instance to explain
i = 0
exp = explainer.explain_instance(X_test[i], clf.predict, num_features=5)

# print the explanation
print("Explanation for instance:", X_test[i])
print("Prediction:", clf.predict(X_test[i]))
print("\n".join([f"{f}: {v}" for f, v in exp.as_list()]))

When working with feature importance, it’s important to keep in mind that different methods may give slightly different results and trade-offs. For example, permutation importance, which I described in the previous examples, can be computationally expensive when working with large datasets, but it provides a reliable way of computing feature importance. Other methods like feature importance from tree-based models, like decision trees or random forest, is less computational heavy but it is sensitive to the chosen threshold to define a node as important.

It’s also important to note that feature importance is relative to the specific model, dataset and the task, so it’s not always straightforward to interpret. And the feature importance alone, is not enough to explain the overall performance of the model, to do that you will need to complement with other metric such as accuracy, AUC, F1-score and others depending on your specific problem.

Similarly when working with LIME, it is important to keep in mind that LIME is a post-hoc explanation method, it approximates the model locally, that means that it explains a specific instance, or a small region of the feature space. It does not provide a global view of the model, it is not able to explain all the instances of the data. Additionally, LIME approximations can be sensitive to the choices of the parameters such as the neighborhood size or the kernel width.

In general, XAI is a complex and multidisciplinary field and it is important to understand the limitations and trade-offs of the different methods. Also, it is important to consider the specific use case when choosing the appropriate method and interpreting the results. I hope this additional information help, let me know if you have any more questions.

There are several advantages and limitations of using XAI techniques:


  • Transparency: XAI can make machine learning models more transparent, which can help to build trust with users and regulators.
  • Interpretability: XAI can help to make machine learning models more interpretable, which can help to identify and fix errors, and to gain insights into the underlying processes.
  • Accountability: XAI can help to make machine learning models more accountable, which can help to ensure that the models are making fair and unbiased decisions.
  • Debugging: XAI can help to debug and improve machine learning models by identifying issues with the data, model architecture, and other factors that can affect performance.


  • Complexity: Some XAI methods can be complex and computationally expensive, which can make them difficult to implement in practice.
  • Limitations of interpretability: While XAI can help to make models more interpretable, it can still be difficult to fully understand the reasoning behind certain predictions. Some models, such as deep neural networks, are inherently complex and may not be fully interpretable.
  • Local explanations: Many XAI methods provide local explanations, which can only explain the predictions for a specific instance or a small region of the feature space. It may not provide a global view of the model.
  • Limited to specific models: Some XAI methods are limited to specific types of models, such as linear models, and may not work well with other types of models, such as neural networks.
  • Post-hoc nature: Many XAI methods are post-hoc in nature, meaning that they are applied after the model is already trained. This may make it harder to incorporate interpretability into the model from the beginning and in some cases may lead to a trade-off between interpretability and accuracy.

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