On the Connection Between Adversarial Robustness and Saliency Map Interpretability


Christian Etmann, Sebastian Lunz, Peter Maass, Carola Schoenlieb ;
Proceedings of the 36th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 97:1823-1832, 2019.


Recent studies on the adversarial vulnerability of neural networks have shown that models trained to be more robust to adversarial attacks exhibit more interpretable saliency maps than their non-robust counterparts. We aim to quantify this behaviour by considering the alignment between input image and saliency map. We hypothesize that as the distance to the decision boundary grows, so does the alignment. This connection is strictly true in the case of linear models. We confirm these theoretical findings with experiments based on models trained with a local Lipschitz regularization and identify where the nonlinear nature of neural networks weakens the relation.

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