Preprocessing Reward Functions for Interpretability


In many real-world applications, the reward function is too complex to be manually specified. In such cases, reward functions must instead be learned from human feedback. Since the learned reward may fail to represent user preferences, it is important to be able to validate the learned reward function prior to deployment. One promising approach is to apply interpretability tools to the reward function to spot potential deviations from the user’s intention. Existing work has applied general-purpose interpretability tools to understand learned reward functions. We propose exploiting the intrinsic structure of reward functions by first preprocessing them into simpler but equivalent reward functions, which are then visualized. We introduce a general framework for such reward preprocessing and propose concrete preprocessing algorithms. Our empirical evaluation shows that preprocessed rewards are often significantly easier to understand than the original reward.

Cooperative AI Workshop at NeurIPS
Adam Gleave
Adam Gleave
Founder & CEO at FAR AI

Founder of FAR AI, an alignment research non-profit working to incubate and accelerate new alignment research agendas. Previously: PhD @ UC Berkeley; Google DeepMind. Research interests include adversarial robustness and interpretability.