Opinion: Explaining medical AI is easier said than done

The growing use of artificial intelligence in medicine is paralleled by growing concern among many policymakers, patients, and physicians about the use of black-box algorithms. In a nutshell, it’s this: We don’t know what these algorithms are doing or how they are doing it, and since we aren’t in a position to understand them, they can’t be trusted and shouldn’t be relied upon.

A new field of research, dubbed explainable artificial intelligence (XAI), aims to address these concerns. As we argue in Science magazine, together with our colleagues I. Glenn Cohen and Theodoros Evgeniou, this approach may not help and, in some instances, can hurt.

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