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Neural Causal Models for Counterfactual Identification and Estimation

Kevin M Xia · Yushu Pan · Elias Bareinboim

MH1-2-3-4 #125

Keywords: [ Probabilistic Methods ] [ deep learning ] [ neural models ] [ counterfactual ] [ causal inference ] [ causal estimation ] [ causal identification ] [ neural causal models ]


Evaluating hypothetical statements about how the world would be had a different course of action been taken is arguably one key capability expected from modern AI systems. Counterfactual reasoning underpins discussions in fairness, the determination of blame and responsibility, credit assignment, and regret. In this paper, we study the evaluation of counterfactual statements through neural models. Specifically, we tackle two causal problems required to make such evaluations, i.e., counterfactual identification and estimation from an arbitrary combination of observational and experimental data. First, we show that neural causal models (NCMs) are expressive enough and encode the structural constraints necessary for performing counterfactual reasoning. Second, we develop an algorithm for simultaneously identifying and estimating counterfactual distributions. We show that this algorithm is sound and complete for deciding counterfactual identification in general settings. Third, considering the practical implications of these results, we introduce a new strategy for modeling NCMs using generative adversarial networks. Simulations corroborate with the proposed methodology.

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