Causal Inference & Machine Learning: Why now?

Elias Bareinboim · Bernhard Schölkopf · Terrence Sejnowski · Yoshua Bengio · Judea Pearl

Abstract Workshop Website
Mon 13 Dec, 7 a.m. PST


Machine Learning has been extremely successful throughout many critical areas, including computer vision, natural language processing, and game-playing. Still, a growing segment of the machine learning community recognizes that there are still fundamental pieces missing from the AI puzzle, among them causal inference.

This recognition comes from the observation that even though causality is a central component found throughout the sciences, engineering, and many other aspects of human cognition, explicit reference to causal relationships is largely missing in current learning systems. This entails a new goal of integrating causal inference and machine learning capabilities into the next generation of intelligent systems, thus paving the way towards higher levels of intelligence and human-centric AI. The synergy goes in both directions; causal inference benefitting from machine learning and the other way around. Current machine learning systems lack the ability to leverage the invariances imprinted by the underlying causal mechanisms towards reasoning about generalizability, explainability, interpretability, and robustness. Current causal inference methods, on the other hand, lack the ability to scale up to high-dimensional settings, where current machine learning systems excel.

The goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers from both camps to initiate principled discussions about the integration of causal reasoning and machine learning perspectives to help tackle the challenging AI tasks of the coming decades. We welcome researchers from all relevant disciplines, including but not limited to computer science, cognitive science, robotics, mathematics, statistics, physics, and philosophy.

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