Monetizing Explainable AI: A Double-edged Sword

by   Travis Greene, et al.

Algorithms used by organizations increasingly wield power in society as they decide the allocation of key resources and basic goods. In order to promote fairer, juster, and more transparent uses of such decision-making power, explainable artificial intelligence (XAI) aims to provide insights into the logic of algorithmic decision-making. Despite much research on the topic, consumer-facing applications of XAI remain rare. A central reason may be that a viable platform-based monetization strategy for this new technology has yet to be found. We introduce and describe a novel monetization strategy for fusing algorithmic explanations with programmatic advertising via an explanation platform. We claim the explanation platform represents a new, socially-impactful, and profitable form of human-algorithm interaction and estimate its potential for revenue generation in the high-risk domains of finance, hiring, and education. We then consider possible undesirable and unintended effects of monetizing XAI and simulate these scenarios using real-world credit lending data. Ultimately, we argue that monetizing XAI may be a double-edged sword: while monetization may incentivize industry adoption of XAI in a variety of consumer applications, it may also conflict with the original legal and ethical justifications for developing XAI. We conclude by discussing whether there may be ways to responsibly and democratically harness the potential of monetized XAI to provide greater consumer access to algorithmic explanations.


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