Visual Explanations of Image-Text Representations via Multi-Modal Information Bottleneck Attribution

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper


Ying Wang, Tim G. J. Rudner, Andrew G. Wilson


Vision-language pretrained models have seen remarkable success, but their application to safety-critical settings is limited by their lack of interpretability. To improve the interpretability of vision-language models such as CLIP, we propose a multi-modal information bottleneck (M2IB) approach that learns latent representations that compress irrelevant information while preserving relevant visual and textual features. We demonstrate how M2IB can be applied to attribution analysis of vision-language pretrained models, increasing attribution accuracy and improving the interpretability of such models when applied to safety-critical domains such as healthcare. Crucially, unlike commonly used unimodal attribution methods, M2IB does not require ground truth labels, making it possible to audit representations of vision-language pretrained models when multiple modalities but no ground-truth data is available. Using CLIP as an example, we demonstrate the effectiveness of M2IB attribution and show that it outperforms gradient-based, perturbation-based, and attention-based attribution methods both qualitatively and quantitatively.