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The Doctor Just Won't Accept That!

Zachary C. Lipton

Calls to arms to build interpretable models express a well-founded discomfort with machine learning. Should a software agent that does not even know what a loan is decide who qualifies for one? Indeed, we ought to be cautious about injecting machine learning (or anything else, for that matter) into applications where there may be a significant risk of causing social harm. However, claims that stakeholders "just won't accept that!" do not provide a sufficient foundation for a proposed field of study. For the field of interpretable machine learning to advance, we must ask the following questions: What precisely won't various stakeholders accept? What do they want? Are these desiderata reasonable? Are they feasible? In order to answer these questions, we'll have to give real-world problems and their respective stakeholders greater consideration.

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