06 agosto 2020

Otimização de métricas é um problema da Inteligência Artificial


Optimizing a given metric is a central aspect of most current AI approaches, yet overemphasizing metrics leads to manipulation, gaming, a myopic focus on short-term goals, and other unexpected negative consequences. This poses a fundamental challenge in the use and development of AI. We first review how metrics can go wrong in practice and aspects of how our online environment and current business practices are exacerbating these failures. We put forward here an evidence based framework that takes steps toward mitigating the harms caused by overemphasis of metrics within AI by: (1) using a slate of metrics to get a fuller and more nuanced picture, (2) combining metrics with qualitative accounts, and (3) involving a range of stakeholders, including those who will be most impacted.

The Problem with Metrics is a Fundamental Problem for AI
Rachel Thomas, David Uminsky

Goodhart’s Law states that “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” At their heart, what most current AI approaches do is to optimize metrics. The practice of optimizing metrics is not new nor unique to AI, yet AI can be particularly efficient (even too efficient!) at doing so.

This is important to understand, because any risks of optimizing metrics are heightened by AI. While metrics can be useful in their proper place, there are harms when they are unthinkingly applied. Some of the scariest instances of algorithms run amok (such as Google’s algorithm contributing to radicalizing people into white supremacy, teachers being fired by an algorithm, or essay grading software that rewards sophisticated garbage) all result from over-emphasizing metrics. We have to understand this dynamic in order to understand the urgent risks we are facing due to misuse of AI.

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Headlines from HBR, Washington Post, and Vice on some of the outcomes of over-optimizing metrics: rewarding gibberish essays, promoting propaganda, massive fraud at Wells Fargo, and firing good teachers

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