Active Globally Explainable Learning for Medical Images via Class Association Embedding and Cyclic Adversarial Generation

by   Ruitao Xie, et al.

Explainability poses a major challenge to artificial intelligence (AI) techniques. Current studies on explainable AI (XAI) lack the efficiency of extracting global knowledge about the learning task, thus suffer deficiencies such as imprecise saliency, context-aware absence and vague meaning. In this paper, we propose the class association embedding (CAE) approach to address these issues. We employ an encoder-decoder architecture to embed sample features and separate them into class-related and individual-related style vectors simultaneously. Recombining the individual-style code of a given sample with the class-style code of another leads to a synthetic sample with preserved individual characters but changed class assignment, following a cyclic adversarial learning strategy. Class association embedding distills the global class-related features of all instances into a unified domain with well separation between classes. The transition rules between different classes can be then extracted and further employed to individual instances. We then propose an active XAI framework which manipulates the class-style vector of a certain sample along guided paths towards the counter-classes, resulting in a series of counter-example synthetic samples with identical individual characters. Comparing these counterfactual samples with the original ones provides a global, intuitive illustration to the nature of the classification tasks. We adopt the framework on medical image classification tasks, which show that more precise saliency maps with powerful context-aware representation can be achieved compared with existing methods. Moreover, the disease pathology can be directly visualized via traversing the paths in the class-style space.


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