Inverse Active Sensing: Modeling and Understanding Timely Decision-Making
Proceedings of the 37th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 119:4713-4723, 2020.
Evidence-based decision-making entails collecting (costly) observations about an underlying phenomenon of interest, and subsequently committing to an (informed) decision on the basis of accumulated evidence. In this setting, *active sensing* is the goal-oriented problem of efficiently selecting which acquisitions to make, and when and what decision to settle on. As its complement, *inverse active sensing* seeks to uncover an agent’s preferences and strategy given their observable decision-making behavior. In this paper, we develop an expressive, unified framework for the general setting of evidence-based decision-making under endogenous, context-dependent time pressure—which requires negotiating (subjective) tradeoffs between accuracy, speediness, and cost of information. Using this language, we demonstrate how it enables *modeling* intuitive notions of surprise, suspense, and optimality in decision strategies (the forward problem). Finally, we illustrate how this formulation enables *understanding* decision-making behavior by quantifying preferences implicit in observed decision strategies (the inverse problem).