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Designing Decision Support Systems Using Counterfactual Prediction Sets
Eleni Straitouri · Manuel Gomez-Rodriguez
Event URL: https://openreview.net/forum?id=vcAtmmDsge »
Decision support systems for classification tasks are predominantly designed to predict the value of the ground truth labels. However, since their predictions are not perfect, these systems also need to make human experts understand when and how to use these predictions to update their own predictions. Unfortunately, this has been proven challenging. In this context, it has been recently argued that an alternative type of decision support systems may circumvent this challenge. Rather than providing a single label prediction, these systems provide a set of label prediction values constructed using a conformal predictor, namely a prediction set, and forcefully ask experts to predict a label value from the prediction set. However, the design and evaluation of these systems have so far relied on stylized expert models, questioning their promise. In this paper, we revisit the design of this type of systems from the perspective of online learning and develop a methodology based on the successive elimination algorithm that does not require, nor assumes, an expert model. Our methodology leverages the nested structure of the prediction sets provided by any conformal predictor and a natural counterfactual monotonicity assumption on the experts’ predictions over the prediction sets to achieve an exponential improvement in regret in comparison with vanilla successive elimination. We conduct a large-scale human subject study ($n =2,751$) to verify our counterfactual monotonicity assumption and compare our methodology to several competitive baselines. The results suggest that decision support systems that limit experts’ level of agency may be practical and may offer greater performance than those allowing experts to always exercise their own agency.

Author Information

Eleni Straitouri (Max Planck Institute for Software Systems)
Manuel Gomez-Rodriguez (MPI-SWS)
Manuel Gomez-Rodriguez

Manuel Gomez Rodriguez is a faculty at Max Planck Institute for Software Systems. Manuel develops human-centric machine learning models and algorithms for the analysis, modeling and control of social, information and networked systems. He has received several recognitions for his research, including an outstanding paper award at NeurIPS’13 and a best research paper honorable mention at KDD’10 and WWW’17. He has served as track chair for FAT* 2020 and as area chair for every major conference in machine learning, data mining and the Web. Manuel has co-authored over 50 publications in top-tier conferences (NeurIPS, ICML, WWW, KDD, WSDM, AAAI) and journals (PNAS, Nature Communications, JMLR, PLOS Computational Biology). Manuel holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Carlos III University, a MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and has received postdoctoral training at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems.

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