Extracting Causal Visual Features for Limited label Classification

Neural networks trained to classify images do so by identifying features that allow them to distinguish between classes. These sets of features are either causal or context dependent. Grad-CAM is a popular method of visualizing both sets of features. In this paper, we formalize this feature divide and provide a methodology to extract causal features from Grad-CAM. We do so by defining context features as those features that allow contrast between predicted class and any contrast class. We then apply a set theoretic approach to separate causal from contrast features for COVID-19 CT scans. We show that on average, the image regions with the proposed causal features require 15% less bits when encoded using Huffman encoding, compared to Grad-CAM, for an average increase of 3% classification accuracy, over Grad-CAM. Moreover, we validate the transfer-ability of causal features between networks and comment on the non-human interpretable causal nature of current networks.

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