artificial intelligence

Trust in AI would be greater with access to training data

Image credit: Dreamstime

Trust in AI could be improved if clear data on how it was trained was made available, researchers have said.

For AI systems to learn, they first must be trained using information that is often labelled by humans. However, most users never see how the data is labelled, leading to doubts about the accuracy and bias of those labels.

Showing users that visual data fed into systems was labelled correctly was shown make people trust AI more and could pave the way to help scientists better measure the connection between labelling credibility, AI performance, and trust, the Penn State University team said.

In a study, the researchers found that high-quality labelling of images led people to perceive that the training data was credible and they trusted the AI system more. However, when the system shows other signs of being biased, some aspects of their trust go down while others remain at a high level.

“When we talk about trusting AI systems, we are talking about trusting the performance of AI and the AI’s ability to reflect reality and truth,” said S Shyam Sundar, one of the researchers and an affiliate of Penn State’s Institute for Computational and Data Sciences.

“That can happen if and only if the AI has been trained on a good sample of data. Ultimately, a lot of the concern about trust in AI should really be a concern about us trusting the training data upon which that AI is built. Yet, it has been a challenge to convey the quality of training data to laypersons.”

According to the researchers, one way to convey that trustworthiness is to give users a glimpse of the labelling data.

“Often, the labelling process is not revealed to users, so we wondered what would happen if we disclosed training data information, especially accuracy of labelling,” said researcher Chris Chen, first author of the study. “We wanted to see whether that would shape people’s perception of training data credibility and further influence their trust in the AI system.”

The researchers recruited a total of 430 participants for the online study. The participants were asked to interact with a prototype Emotion Reader AI website, which was introduced as a system designed to detect facial expressions in social media images.

Researchers informed participants that the AI system had been trained on a dataset of almost 10,000 labelled facial images, with each image tagged as one of seven emotions – joy, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, disgust or neutral.

The participants were also informed that more than 500 people had participated in data labelling for the dataset. However, the researchers had manipulated the labelling, so in one condition the labels accurately described the emotions, while in the other, half of the facial images were mislabelled.

To study AI system performance, researchers randomly assigned participants to one of three experimental conditions: no performance, biased performance and unbiased performance.

In the biased and unbiased conditions, participants were shown examples of AI performance involving the classification of emotions expressed by two Black and two white individuals. In the biased performance condition, the AI system classified all images of white individuals with 100 per cent accuracy and all images of Black individuals with 0 per cent accuracy, demonstrating a strong racial bias in AI performance.

According to the researchers, the participants’ trust fell when they perceived that the system’s performance was biased. However, their emotional connection with the system and desire to use it in the future did not go down after seeing a biased performance.

The researchers suggest that developers and designers could measure trust in AI by creating new ways to assess user perception of training data credibility, such as letting users review a sample of the labelled data.

Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles