Learning by Design: Structuring and Documenting the Human Choices in Machine Learning Development

05/03/2021 ∙ by Simon Enni, et al. ∙ 0

The influence of machine learning (ML) is quickly spreading, and a number of recent technological innovations have applied ML as a central technology. However, ML development still requires a substantial amount of human expertise to be successful. The deliberation and expert judgment applied during ML development cannot be revisited or scrutinized if not properly documented, and this hinders the further adoption of ML technologies–especially in safety critical situations. In this paper, we present a method consisting of eight design questions, that outline the deliberation and normative choices going into creating a ML model. Our method affords several benefits, such as supporting critical assessment through methodological transparency, aiding in model debugging, and anchoring model explanations by committing to a pre hoc expectation of the model's behavior. We believe that our method can help ML practitioners structure and justify their choices and assumptions when developing ML models, and that it can help bridge a gap between those inside and outside the ML field in understanding how and why ML models are designed and developed the way they are.

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