Author ORCID Identifier 0000-0002-2718-5426

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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Computer Sciences

Publication Details

Information Fusion, 76 (2021) 89–106


Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) has experienced a significant growth over the last few years. This is due to the widespread application of machine learning, particularly deep learning, that has led to the development of highly accurate models that lack explainability and interpretability. A plethora of methods to tackle this problem have been proposed, developed and tested, coupled with several studies attempting to define the concept of explainability and its evaluation. This systematic review contributes to the body of knowledge by clustering all the scientific studies via a hierarchical system that classifies theories and notions related to the concept of explainability and the evaluation approaches for XAI methods. The structure of this hierarchy builds on top of an exhaustive analysis of existing taxonomies and peer-reviewed scientific material. Findings suggest that scholars have identified numerous notions and requirements that an explanation should meet in order to be easily understandable by end-users and to provide actionable information that can inform decision making. They have also suggested various approaches to assess to what degree machine-generated explanations meet these demands. Overall, these approaches can be clustered into human-centred evaluations and evaluations with more objective metrics. However, despite the vast body of knowledge developed around the concept of explainability, there is not a general consensus among scholars on how an explanation should be defined, and how its validity and reliability assessed. Eventually, this review concludes by critically discussing these gaps and limitations, and it defines future research directions with explainability as the starting component of any artificial intelligent system.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.