Order Matters: Generating Progressive Explanations for Planning Tasks in Human-Robot Teaming

Mehrdad Zakershahrak, Shashank Rao Marpally, Akshay Sharma, Ze Gong, Yu Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Prior work on generating explanations in a planning context has focused on providing the rationale behind an AI agent's decision-making. While these methods offer the right explanations, they fail to heed the cognitive requirement of understanding an explanation from the explainee or human's perspective. In this work, we set out to address this issue by considering the order for communicating information in an explanation, or the progressiveness of making explanations. Progression is the notion of building complex concepts on simpler ones, which is known to benefit learning. In this work, we investigate a similar effect when an explanation is composed of multiple parts that are communicated sequentially. The challenge here lies in determining the order for receiving different parts of an explanation that would assist in understanding. Given the sequential nature, a formulation based on goal-based MDP is presented. The reward function of this MDP is learned via inverse reinforcement learning based on training data. We evaluated our approach in an escape-room domain to demonstrate its effectiveness. Upon analyzing the results, it revealed that the desired order arises strongly from both domain-dependent and independence features. This result confirmed our expectation that the process of understanding an explanation for planning tasks was progressive and context dependent. We also showed that the explanations generated using the learned rewards achieved better task performance and simultaneously reduced cognitive load. These results shed light on designing explainable robots across various domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2021 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2021
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages2598-2604
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781728190778
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event2021 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2021 - Xi'an, China
Duration: May 30 2021Jun 5 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Volume2021-May
ISSN (Print)1050-4729

Conference

Conference2021 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2021
Country/TerritoryChina
CityXi'an
Period5/30/216/5/21

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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