Online Decision MediationDownload PDF

Published: 31 Oct 2022, Last Modified: 15 Oct 2022NeurIPS 2022 AcceptReaders: Everyone
Keywords: Decision System, Decision Mediation, Decision Support
Abstract: Consider learning a decision support assistant to serve as an intermediary between (oracle) expert behavior and (imperfect) human behavior: At each time, the algorithm observes an action chosen by a fallible agent, and decides whether to *accept* that agent's decision, *intervene* with an alternative, or *request* the expert's opinion. For instance, in clinical diagnosis, fully-autonomous machine behavior is often beyond ethical affordances, thus real-world decision support is often limited to monitoring and forecasting. Instead, such an intermediary would strike a prudent balance between the former (purely prescriptive) and latter (purely descriptive) approaches, while providing an efficient interface between human mistakes and expert feedback. In this work, we first formalize the sequential problem of *online decision mediation*---that is, of simultaneously learning and evaluating mediator policies from scratch with *abstentive feedback*: In each round, deferring to the oracle obviates the risk of error, but incurs an upfront penalty, and reveals the otherwise hidden expert action as a new training data point. Second, we motivate and propose a solution that seeks to trade off (immediate) loss terms against (future) improvements in generalization error; in doing so, we identify why conventional bandit algorithms may fail. Finally, through experiments and sensitivities on a variety of datasets, we illustrate consistent gains over applicable benchmarks on performance measures with respect to the mediator policy, the learned model, and the decision-making system as a whole.
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TL;DR: We study the problem of learning to *mediate* between (oracle) expert behavior and (imperfect) human behavior with *abstentive* feedback.
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