Samantha Kleinberg, Stevens Institute of Technology
Data, Decisions, and You: Making Causality Useful and Usable in a Complex World
The collection of massive observational datasets has led to unprecedented opportunities for causal inference, such as using electronic health records to identify risk factors for disease. However, our ability to understand these complex data sets has not grown the same pace as our ability to collect them. While causal inference has traditionally focused on pairwise relationships between variables, biological systems are highly complex and knowing when events may happen is often as important as knowing whether they will. In the first half of this talk I discuss new methods that allow causal relationships to be reliably inferred from complex observational data, motivated by analysis of intensive care unit and other medical data. Causes are useful because they allow us to take action, but how there is a gap between the output of machine learning and what helps people make decisions. In the second part of this talk I discuss our recent findings in testing just how people fare when using the output of machine learning and how we can go from data to knowledge to decisions.