Label-Free Explainability for Unsupervised Models
Proceedings of the 39th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 162:4391-4420, 2022.
Unsupervised black-box models are challenging to interpret. Indeed, most existing explainability methods require labels to select which component(s) of the black-box’s output to interpret. In the absence of labels, black-box outputs often are representation vectors whose components do not correspond to any meaningful quantity. Hence, choosing which component(s) to interpret in a label-free unsupervised/self-supervised setting is an important, yet unsolved problem. To bridge this gap in the literature, we introduce two crucial extensions of post-hoc explanation techniques: (1) label-free feature importance and (2) label-free example importance that respectively highlight influential features and training examples for a black-box to construct representations at inference time. We demonstrate that our extensions can be successfully implemented as simple wrappers around many existing feature and example importance methods. We illustrate the utility of our label-free explainability paradigm through a qualitative and quantitative comparison of representation spaces learned by various autoencoders trained on distinct unsupervised tasks.