Board on Human-Systems Integration (BOHSI) holds Plenary Session on Explainable AI Frontiers


The Board on Human Systems Integration (BOHSI) of the National Academies hosted a plenary session on June 24, 2019 in Washington DC where board members and invited expert guests explored how to advance the science related to explainable artificial intelligence from a human factors perspective. Panelists discussed the state of the art and research and design frontiers for intelligent systems that support effective human machine teaming, in particular, trust between the person and the automated software. A Q&A with audience members, both in person and online, followed.

The plenary began with a presentation on Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) from David Gunning, Program Manager, Information Innovation Office, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Gunning motivated the need for explainable AI due to entering a new age of AI applications where machine learning is the core technology, and machine learning models are opaque, non-intuitive, and difficult for people to understand. He provided an overview of the different approaches that DARPA teams are exploring, as well as a quick summary of Phase I evaluation results measuring user satisfaction, mental model, task performance and trust. A second round of evaluations are planned for the beginning of December.

This was followed by a panel discussion that included experts on human factors and human system integration, who expanded on the challenges and opportunities in developing intelligent systems that support effective human machine teaming, including trust between the person and the automated software. The panel was moderated by Emilie Roth, BOHSI Member, Roth Cognitive Engineering; and included Mica Endsley, BOHSI Member, S.A. Technologies; Jessie Chen, Army Research Laboratory (ARL); and Marc Steinberg, Office of Naval Research (ONR).

A video-recording of the session can be accessed at:

The conversation will be continued at a companion BOHSI panel session that will be held as part of the HFES 63rd international annual meeting on October 28 – Nov. 1, 2019 in Seattle Washington. The panel is entitled "Explainable AI, System Transparency, and Human Machine Teaming". The panel will be moderated by Emilie Roth, Roth Cognitive Engineering and will include Jessie Chen, Senior Research Scientist for Soldier Performance US Army Research Laboratory, William J. Clancey, Florida Institute of Human and Machine Cognition, Mica Endsley, SA Technologies, Robert Hoffman, Florida Institute of Human and Machine Cognition, and Marc L. Steinberg, Office of Naval Research as panelists. We hope to see you there.

BOHSI is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) known as the “National Academies” in short. The National Academies is a private, non-profit organization that is tasked with providing independent and non-partisan advice on all matters related to science, engineering and medicine to Congress and the federal government since its inception in 1863. It currently comprises the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). BOHSI, formerly known as the Committee on Human-Systems Integration and even earlier as the Committee on Human Factors, was established to better equip the National Academies in its efforts to assist the federal government on issues of national policy that involve human factors and human-systems integration. Housed within the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, BOHSI is a standing board of the NAS. Meetings and activities of BOHSI are sponsored by: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; U.S. Army Research Laboratory; Air Force Testing and Survey Policy;  and the Veterans Health Administration. 

The next BOHSI Bi-Annual Board Meeting will take place in December at the Keck Center in Washington, DC. The meeting will include a special, full day seminar on December 3rd to explore smart cities, urban climate resilience, and human-systems integration. This activity will be carried out in collaboration with the Board on Environmental Change and Society. This session will be video-recorded as well. For questions about that meeting, please contact Toby Warden at

More information on BOHSI, it’s activities and publications, can be found at: