The Epistemology of Machine Learning

  • Huiren Bai
Keywords: machine learning, epistemological foundation, transparency, interpretability, machine knowledge


This paper argues that machine learning is a knowledge-producing enterprise, since we are increasingly relying on artificial intelligence. But the knowledge discovered by machine is completely beyond human experience and human reason, becoming almost incomprehensible to humans. I argue that standard calls for interpretability that focus on the epistemic inscrutability of black-box machine learning may be misplaced. The problems of transparency and interpretability of machine learning stem from how we perceive the possibility of ‘machine knowledge’. In other words, the justification for machine knowledge does not need to include transparency and interpretability. Therefore, I am going to examine some sort of machine learning epistemology and provide three possible justifications for machine knowledge, which are formal justification, model justification and practical justification.

Computers and Philosophy