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Towards Transparent Robotic Planning via Contrastive Explanations

by   Shenghui Chen, et al.

Providing explanations of chosen robotic actions can help to increase the transparency of robotic planning and improve users' trust. Social sciences suggest that the best explanations are contrastive, explaining not just why one action is taken, but why one action is taken instead of another. We formalize the notion of contrastive explanations for robotic planning policies based on Markov decision processes, drawing on insights from the social sciences. We present methods for the automated generation of contrastive explanations with three key factors: selectiveness, constrictiveness, and responsibility. The results of a user study with 100 participants on the Amazon Mechanical Turk platform show that our generated contrastive explanations can help to increase users' understanding and trust of robotic planning policies while reducing users' cognitive burden.


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