Explainable Deep Image Classifiers for Skin Lesion Diagnosis

A key issue in critical contexts such as medical diagnosis is the interpretability of the deep learning models adopted in decision-making systems. Research in eXplainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) is trying to solve this issue. However, often XAI approaches are only tested on generalist classifier and do not represent realistic problems such as those of medical diagnosis. In this paper, we analyze a case study on skin lesion images where we customize an existing XAI approach for explaining a deep learning model able to recognize different types of skin lesions. The explanation is formed by synthetic exemplar and counter-exemplar images of skin lesion and offers the practitioner a way to highlight the crucial traits responsible for the classification decision. A survey conducted with domain experts, beginners and unskilled people proof that the usage of explanations increases the trust and confidence in the automatic decision system. Also, an analysis of the latent space adopted by the explainer unveils that some of the most frequent skin lesion classes are distinctly separated. This phenomenon could derive from the intrinsic characteristics of each class and, hopefully, can provide support in the resolution of the most frequent misclassifications by human experts.

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