Automating Exploration: Machine Learning, Understanding, and the Aims of Data-Driven Science (in progress)
In this paper, I draw a parallel between data-driven science and exploratory experiments which sheds light on the generative aims of data-intensive methodologies. Exploratory is thought to provide the conditions for the development of new scientific concepts. I then go on to bring attention to an under-theorized problem for the application of machine learning (ML) algorithms in service of these aims. I call this problem semantic opacity. Semantic opacity occurs when the knowledge needed to translate the output of an ML system into scientific concepts depends on theoretical assumptions about the same domain of inquiry into which the model purports to grant insight. Semantic opacity is especially likely to occur in exploratory contexts, wherein experimentation is not strongly guided by extant theory. However, when exploratory methods are mediated by ML, we lack the interpretative tools needed to decide if the predictions of a model correspond to robust, scientific kinds rather than jerry-rigged ones tied to spurious correlations in Big Data. Furthermore, I argue that techniques in explainable AI (XAI) that aim to make these models more interpretable are not well suited to address semantic opacity.
Every project has a beautiful feature showcase page. It’s easy to include images in a flexible 3-column grid format. Make your photos 1/3, 2/3, or full width.
To give your project a background in the portfolio page, just add the img tag to the front matter like so:
description: a project with a background image
Caption photos easily. On the left, a road goes through a tunnel. Middle, leaves artistically fall in a hipster photoshoot. Right, in another hipster photoshoot, a lumberjack grasps a handful of pine needles.
This image can also have a caption. It's like magic.
You can also put regular text between your rows of images. Say you wanted to write a little bit about your project before you posted the rest of the images. You describe how you toiled, sweated, bled for your project, and then… you reveal it’s glory in the next row of images.
You can also have artistically styled 2/3 + 1/3 images, like these.
The code is simple. Just wrap your images with <div class="col-sm"> and place them inside <div class="row"> (read more about the Bootstrap Grid system). To make images responsive, add img-fluid class to each; for rounded corners and shadows use rounded and z-depth-1 classes. Here’s the code for the last row of images above: