The (Un)reliability of saliency methods

Pieter-Jan Kindermans, Sara Hooker, Julius Adebayo, Kristof T. Schütt, Maximilian Alber, Sven Dähne, Dumitru Erhan, Been Kim

Feb 15, 2018 (modified: Feb 15, 2018) ICLR 2018 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Saliency methods aim to explain the predictions of deep neural networks. These methods lack reliability when the explanation is sensitive to factors that do not contribute to the model prediction. We use a simple and common pre-processing step ---adding a mean shift to the input data--- to show that a transformation with no effect on the model can cause numerous methods to incorrectly attribute. We define input invariance as the requirement that a saliency method mirror the sensitivity of the model with respect to transformations of the input. We show, through several examples, that saliency methods that do not satisfy a input invariance property are unreliable and can lead to misleading and inaccurate attribution.
  • TL;DR: Attribution can sometimes be misleading
  • Keywords: Deep learning interpretability, understanding
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