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PARC to Develop Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) Science for DARPA
Interactive Sense-making System Seeks to ‘Explain’ AI Decisions, Processes, and History

10 July 2017

Palo Alto, California -- PARC, a Xerox company, today announced it has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), under its Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) program, to help advance the underlying science of AI. For this multi-million dollar contract, PARC will aim to develop a highly interactive sense-making system called COGLE (COmmon Ground Learning and Explanation), which may explain the learned performance capabilities of autonomous systems to human users.

The key idea behind COGLE is to establish common ground between concepts and abstractions used by humans and the capabilities learned by a machine. These learned representations would then be exposed to the human via COGLE’s rich sense-making interface, enabling people to understand and predict the behavior of an autonomous system.

For the DARPA project, COGLE will be developed using an autonomous Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) test bed. However, concepts developed under COGLE could be applicable to understanding a variety of autonomous systems. In particular, COGLE might support user sense-making of autonomous systems’ decisions, enabling users to understand the strengths and weaknesses of autonomous systems, conveying an understanding of how systems may behave in the future, and provide ways for the user to improve performance of autonomous systems.

For COGLE, PARC is teaming with Carnegie Mellon University, West Point, University of Michigan, University of Edinburgh, and the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition, bringing together the world’s top expertise in machine learning, human cognition, and user experience.

“The promise of AI is to design and build systems where humans and machines can understand, trust, and collaborate together in complicated, unstructured environments,” said PARC CEO Tolga Kurtoglu. “Today’s AI is about computation and automation, where machines are accomplishing amazing things like analyzing visual data, seeing patterns within billions of emails, looking at meta data to solve big problems, all within structured and repetitive sets of tasks. The future of AI is less about automation and more about a deep, transparent understanding between humans and machines.”

COGLE is one part of a larger research effort in the area of human-machine collaboration at PARC aimed at creating this future of AI. Machine learning systems and AI algorithms are increasingly able to solve complicated real-world tasks and moreover do so by learning on their own. Humans on the other hand have the ability to contextualize what they learn. When machines and humans work together, much can be accomplished. Users of autonomous systems cannot always know why a computing system made a decision, and may not always trust the system, which is a fundamental challenge in designing joint human-machine teams. This important project with DARPA, along with a suite of other human-machine collaboration projects at PARC, aim to enable people to test, understand, and gain trust into AI systems. This is especially important as we embark into a world of humans + AI systems, where we work together with sophisticated computing systems, such as autonomous vehicles. 

“It’s time to take AI to the next step by building the science of how AI systems learn, how they apply policies to the learning, how they explain things to humans, and possibly even an understanding of its developed social intelligence and ethical judgment,” said Mark Stefik, Research Fellow at PARC and Principal Investigator of COGLE. “As we move into the future with this critical technology, it will be important, for example, for humans to understand why our autonomous car made a certain decision, and visa versa, so we can together intelligently maneuver with our self-driving car through difficult and unchartered environments.”

PARC has been developing the science of AI for more than 40 years, and is now working with dozens of organizations to apply sophisticated AI systems to many industries, including transportation, healthcare, digital manufacturing, smart cities, self-driving cars, and others. PARC’s work with global commercial clients, government, and academia in the field of AI has led to a variety of projects including systems supporting nurses in hospitals, detecting fraud in healthcare and financial transactions, spotting anomalies in network traffic and preventing cyber-attacks, helping traffic enforcement officers balance workloads, helping design components in manufacturing systems, and understanding when complex systems like trains are in need of repair.

About PARC

PARC, a Xerox company is in the Business of Breakthroughs®. Practicing open innovation, we provide custom R&D services, technology, expertise, best practices, and intellectual property to Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies, startups, and government agencies and partners. We create new business options, accelerate time to market, augment internal capabilities, and reduce risk for our clients. Since its inception, PARC has pioneered many technology platforms – from the Ethernet and laser printing to the GUI and ubiquitous computing – and has enabled the creation of many industries. Incorporated as an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox in 2002, PARC today continues the research that enables breakthroughs for our clients' businesses. 

PR contact

Kelly Brieger | KBPR for PARC, a Xerox company | 650-704-1748 | kelly@kbpr.net