|Welcome to ExaCt 2009|
Both within AI systems and in interactive systems, the ability to explain reasoning processes and results can have substantial impact. Within the field of knowledge-based systems, explanations have been considered as an important link between humans and machines. There, their main purpose has been to increase the confidence of the user in the system’s result (persuasion) or the system as a whole (satisfaction), by providing evidence of how it was derived (transparency). More recently, in recommender systems good explanations have also been used to help to inspire user trust and loyalty (trust), and make it quicker and easier (efficiency) for users to find what they want (effectiveness). Additional AI research has focused on how computer systems can themselves use explanations, for example to form new generalizations (learning). Explanations have also been used to increase the external user's understanding of a domain (education).
Current interest in mixed-initiative systems provides a new context in which explanation issues may play a crucial role. When knowledge-based systems are partners in an interactive socio-technical process, with incomplete and changing problem descriptions, communication between human and software systems is a central part. Thus explanations exchanged between human agents and software agents may play an important role in mixed-initiative problem solving.
Disciplines such as cognitive science, linguistics, philosophy of science, psychology, and education have investigated explanation as well. They consider varying aspects, making it clear that there are many different views of the nature of explanation and facets of explanation to explore. Relevant examples of these include, but are not limited to, open learner models in education, and dialogue management and planning in natural language generation.
If you would like to participate in discussions on this topic or like to receive further information about this workshop you might consider joining the Yahoo!-group explanation-research. You also find some more information on explanation research at on-explanation.net.