Lifelong Explainer for Lifelong Learners

Lifelong Learning (LL) black-box models are dynamic in that they keep learning from new tasks and constantly update their parameters. Owing to the need to utilize information from previously seen tasks, and capture commonalities in potentially diverse data, it is hard for automatic explanation methods to explain the outcomes of these models. In addition, existing explanation methods, e.g., LIME, which are computationally expensive when explaining a static black-box model, are even more inefficient in the LL setting. In this paper, we propose a novel Lifelong Explanation (LLE) approach that continuously trains a student explainer under the supervision of a teacher – an arbitrary explanation algorithm – on different tasks undertaken in LL. We also leverage the Experience Replay (ER) mechanism to prevent catastrophic forgetting in the student explainer. Our experiments comparing LLE to three baselines on text classification tasks show that LLE can enhance the stability of the explanations for all seen tasks and maintain the same level of faithfulness to the black-box model as the teacher, while being up to 10ˆ2 times faster at test time. Our ablation study shows that the ER mechanism in our LLE approach enhances the learning capabilities of the student explainer. Our code is available at

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