Skip to yearly menu bar Skip to main content


OCTET: Object-Aware Counterfactual Explanations

Mehdi Zemni · Mickaël Chen · Éloi Zablocki · Hédi Ben-Younes · Patrick Pérez · Matthieu Cord

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 258


Nowadays, deep vision models are being widely deployed in safety-critical applications, e.g., autonomous driving, and explainability of such models is becoming a pressing concern. Among explanation methods, counterfactual explanations aim to find minimal and interpretable changes to the input image that would also change the output of the model to be explained. Such explanations point end-users at the main factors that impact the decision of the model. However, previous methods struggle to explain decision models trained on images with many objects, e.g., urban scenes, which are more difficult to work with but also arguably more critical to explain. In this work, we propose to tackle this issue with an object-centric framework for counterfactual explanation generation. Our method, inspired by recent generative modeling works, encodes the query image into a latent space that is structured in a way to ease object-level manipulations. Doing so, it provides the end-user with control over which search directions (e.g., spatial displacement of objects, style modification, etc.) are to be explored during the counterfactual generation. We conduct a set of experiments on counterfactual explanation benchmarks for driving scenes, and we show that our method can be adapted beyond classification, e.g., to explain semantic segmentation models. To complete our analysis, we design and run a user study that measures the usefulness of counterfactual explanations in understanding a decision model. Code is available at

Chat is not available.