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  1. null (Ed.)
    Explainability has emerged as a critical AI research objective, but the breadth of proposed methods and application domains suggest that criteria for explanation vary greatly. In particular, what counts as a good explanation, and what kinds of explanation are computationally feasible, has become trickier in light of oqaque “black box” systems such as deep neural networks. Explanation in such cases has drifted from what many philosophers stipulated as having to involve deductive and causal principles to mere “interpretation,” which approximates what happened in the target system to varying degrees. However, such post hoc constructed rationalizations are highly problematic for social robots that operate interactively in spaces shared with humans. For in such social contexts, explanations of behavior, and, in particular, justifications for violations of expected behavior, should make reference to socially accepted principles and norms. In this article, we show how a social robot’s actions can face explanatory demands for how it came to act on its decision, what goals, tasks, or purposes its design had those actions pursue and what norms or social constraints the system recognizes in the course of its action. As a result, we argue that explanations for social robots will need to be accurate representations of the system’s operation along causal, purposive, and justificatory lines. These explanations will need to generate appropriate references to principles and norms—explanations based on mere “interpretability” will ultimately fail to connect the robot’s behaviors to its appropriate determinants. We then lay out the foundations for a cognitive robotic architecture for HRI, together with particular component algorithms, for generating explanations and engaging in justificatory dialogues with human interactants. Such explanations track the robot’s actual decision-making and behavior, which themselves are determined by normative principles the robot can describe and use for justifications. 
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  2. Symbolic planning models allow decision-making agents to sequence actions in arbitrary ways to achieve a variety of goals in dynamic domains. However, they are typically handcrafted and tend to require precise formulations that are not robust to human error. Reinforcement learning (RL) approaches do not require such models, and instead learn domain dynamics by exploring the environment and collecting rewards. However, RL approaches tend to require millions of episodes of experience and often learn policies that are not easily transferable to other tasks. In this paper, we address one aspect of the open problem of integrating these approaches: how can decision-making agents resolve discrepancies in their symbolic planning models while attempting to accomplish goals? We propose an integrated framework named SPOTTER that uses RL to augment and support ("spot") a planning agent by discovering new operators needed by the agent to accomplish goals that are initially unreachable for the agent. SPOTTER outperforms pure-RL approaches while also discovering transferable symbolic knowledge and does not require supervision, successful plan traces or any a priori knowledge about the missing planning operator. 
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  3. null (Ed.)