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Understanding the (Extra-)Ordinary: Validating Deep Model Decisions with Prototypical Concept-based Explanations

Maximilian Dreyer
Reduan Achtibat
Wojciech Samek
Sebastian Lapuschkin

November 28, 2023

Ensuring both transparency and safety is critical when deploying Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) in high-risk applications, such as medicine. The field of explainable AI (XAI) has proposed various methods to comprehend the decision-making processes of opaque DNNs. However, only few XAI methods are suitable of ensuring safety in practice as they heavily rely on repeated labor-intensive and possibly biased human assessment. In this work, we present a novel post-hoc concept-based XAI framework that conveys besides instance-wise (local) also class-wise (global) decision-making strategies via prototypes. What sets our approach apart is the combination of local and global strategies, enabling a clearer understanding of the (dis-)similarities in model decisions compared to the expected (prototypical) concept use, ultimately reducing the dependence on human long-term assessment. Quantifying the deviation from prototypical behavior not only allows to associate predictions with specific model sub-strategies but also to detect outlier behavior. As such, our approach constitutes an intuitive and explainable tool for model validation. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach in identifying out-of-distribution samples, spurious model behavior and data quality issues across three datasets (ImageNet, CUB-200, and CIFAR-10) utilizing VGG, ResNet, and EfficientNet architectures. Code is available on