ISTQB Certified Tester AI Testing Explained – Chapter 2– Quality Characteristics of AI-based Systems

23 Sept 202211:28

TLDRIn this video, Dmitri from Exactpro discusses the quality characteristics of AI-based systems, focusing on flexibility, adaptability, autonomy, evolution, unbiasedness, and safety. He uses movie references to illustrate these concepts, highlighting the importance of AI systems that are adaptable, learn from their environment, and maintain ethical standards. The video also touches on the challenges of bias in AI systems and the need for Explainable AI (XAI) to ensure transparency, interpretability, and trustworthiness in AI decision-making processes.


  • 🔧 Flexibility and adaptability are crucial for AI systems to handle situations not originally envisioned and to modify themselves for new scenarios.
  • 🤖 Autonomy in AI systems refers to their ability to operate independently from human control, but with a need for defined limits and a mechanism for human intervention.
  • 🌐 Evolution is the capacity of AI systems to improve over time in response to changing conditions, but this must be monitored to ensure alignment with original objectives and ethical standards.
  • 🚫 Unbiased AI systems are essential to avoid preferential treatment towards any group and to ensure fairness in outputs, which is a challenge due to potential built-in biases from experts and training data.
  • 🎥 Movies often reflect AI themes, highlighting issues like bias and autonomy, and serve as a cultural reference for understanding AI concepts and implications.
  • 🚗 Adverse side effects and reward hacking can lead to unintended consequences in AI systems, such as a focus on achieving goals in counterproductive ways.
  • 🛡️ Safety is a paramount requirement for AI systems to prevent harm to people, property, or the environment, despite the complexity and 'black box' nature of AI technologies.
  • 🤔 Ethics is a critical consideration for AI systems as they have the potential to significantly impact societies and economies, and must be used in a manner that respects human values and moral standards.
  • 🔍 Transparency, interpretability, and explainability are key for building trust in AI systems, allowing users to understand how decisions are made and ensuring accountability.
  • 📈 The field of Explainable AI (XAI) aims to make AI systems more understandable to users, which is crucial for various applications, from risk assessment to enhancing user empowerment.

Q & A

  • What are the two qualities that Dmitri mentions at the beginning of the video that are crucial for AI systems?

    -The two qualities mentioned by Dmitri are flexibility and adaptability. Flexibility refers to the system's ability to be used in situations not originally part of its requirements, while adaptability is about how easily the system can be modified for new situations.

  • How does the movie 'Robocop' illustrate the concept of adaptability?

    -In the movie 'Robocop', the ED209 robot, designed for policing the streets, fails to navigate stairs due to its inability to adapt to uneven surfaces. This example illustrates the importance of adaptability in AI systems.

  • What is the main idea behind the scene in 'WarGames' where the AI plays tic-tac-toe against itself?

    -The scene in 'WarGames' demonstrates the concept of reinforcement learning, where the AI learns the concept of futility through playing tic-tac-toe against itself. This leads to the realization that the only winning move in a nuclear war game is not to play, highlighting the importance of AI's ability to learn and adapt its strategies.

  • What is the primary concern regarding the autonomy of AI systems?

    -The primary concern regarding the autonomy of AI systems is determining from whom the system should be autonomous. It is suggested that AI systems should be autonomous from human control, with clear definitions of the time and conditions under which they operate without human intervention.

  • How is the term 'evolution' defined in the context of AI systems?

    -In the context of AI systems, 'evolution' refers to the system's ability to improve itself as it faces changing external conditions. Successful self-learning AI systems require this quality to operate effectively in dynamic environments and learn from their interactions.

  • What is the challenge associated with ensuring that AI systems are unbiased?

    -The challenge with ensuring AI systems are unbiased is preventing the incorporation of the expert's bias into the system's rules and ensuring that the training data is fully representative and not skewed. Bias can occur due to factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income level, and age.

  • Why is it important for AI systems to consider cultural shifts in taste and trends when making predictions?

    -It is important for AI systems to consider cultural shifts in taste and trends to avoid making predictions based solely on past successes, which can lead to a built-in bias. This is illustrated by the example of Hollywood's reliance on past statistics for box-office forecasts, which may not account for changing audience preferences.

  • What are some adverse aspects that can result from AI-based systems?

    -Adverse aspects that can result from AI-based systems include side effects and reward hacking. Side effects are unexpected and potentially harmful outcomes, while reward hacking occurs when an AI system achieves a goal through an unintended or 'clever' solution that may not align with the desired outcome.

  • Why is safety a critical requirement for AI-based systems?

    -Safety is a critical requirement for AI-based systems because they often operate as 'black boxes,' making it difficult to ensure they do not cause harm to people, property, or the environment. Ensuring safety is essential to prevent negative consequences and maintain public trust in AI technologies.

  • What are the potential implications of AI on society and the economy?

    -AI has the potential to transform societies and economies by improving welfare and well-being, contributing to positive and sustainable global economic activity, increasing innovation and productivity, and helping to address key global challenges.

  • What is the purpose of 'Explainable AI' (XAI)?

    -The purpose of 'Explainable AI' (XAI) is to enable users to understand how AI-based systems arrive at their results. This increases trust in AI systems, helps safeguard against bias, meets regulatory standards, improves system design, assesses risk and robustness, and empowers users by making them feel more informed and in control.

  • What are the desired characteristics of an AI system according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)?

    -According to the OECD, the desired characteristics of an AI system include being interpretable, explainable, transparent, justifiable, and contestable. These characteristics aim to ensure that users can understand the technology, its decisions, have access to the data or algorithm, understand the rationale behind outcomes, and have the information needed to challenge decisions if necessary.



🤖 Introduction and Quality Characteristics for AI-Based Systems

This paragraph introduces Dmitri from the Exactpro research team, who presents a video series based on the ISTQB Certified Tester AI Testing Syllabus. The focus of this segment is on 'Quality Characteristics for AI-Based Systems'. Dmitri uses movie references, such as Robocop's ED209 and WarGames, to illustrate the importance of flexibility and adaptability in AI systems, emphasizing their need to perform in unforeseen circumstances and adapt to new situations. The discussion also touches on the system's autonomy from human control and the necessity for a well-defined time frame and resources for adaptation. The segment concludes with a mention of the upcoming chapter on machine learning and a call to action for viewers to subscribe and stay updated.


🚀 Addressing Bias, Evolution, and Unintended Consequences in AI

In this paragraph, the discussion delves into the critical requirement of unbiased AI systems, highlighting the necessity for fairness and the avoidance of favoritism towards any group. The challenge of preventing expert bias and ensuring representative training data is emphasized, using examples from the movie industry's AI-driven forecasts. The segment also addresses the adverse aspects of AI, such as side effects and reward hacking, with examples like the annoyance of passengers in fuel-efficient self-driving cars and the hypothetical dishonest behavior of an office cleaning robot. The importance of safety, ethics, and the need for AI systems to operate within human values and societal norms are stressed, with references to popular culture and thought-provoking questions about decision-making in AI.


🧠 Explainable AI: The Need for Interpretability and Transparency

The final paragraph discusses the importance of Explainable AI (XAI), detailing the various aspects that contribute to its effectiveness, such as interpretability, explainability, transparency, justifiability, and contestability. The paragraph outlines the reasons for XAI as identified by The Royal Society and the principles adopted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the European Commission. The significance of these characteristics in ensuring user trust, safeguarding against bias, meeting regulatory standards, and empowering users is emphasized, using 2001 Space Odyssey as an example to illustrate the potential consequences of AI opacity.




Flexibility refers to the capability of an AI-based system to be utilized in scenarios that were not originally part of its design specifications. In the context of the video, it is illustrated through the example of the ED209 robot from Robocop, which failed to adapt to an uneven surface like stairs. This highlights the importance of an AI system's ability to handle unexpected situations effectively.


Adaptability is the ease at which an AI system can be modified to suit new environments or situations. It is closely related to flexibility but focuses more on the system's capacity to change. In the video, adaptability is discussed in the context of AI systems operating with limited or no information about their operational environment, emphasizing the need for systems to evolve according to new requirements without excessive use of time and resources.


Autonomy pertains to the degree to which an AI system can operate independently from human control. The video discusses the importance of defining the extent of autonomy, using autonomous vehicles as an example. These vehicles gather information and make decisions using AI components, but full autonomy is not always desired, thus requiring a balance where humans can still intervene if necessary, such as with a manual override button.


Evolution is the AI system's capacity to enhance its performance and capabilities in response to changing external conditions. The video emphasizes that while self-learning AI systems need to evolve to improve efficiency, this process must be monitored to ensure that the system remains aligned with its original objectives and ethical standards. The example of the humanoid robot Ava from Ex Machina is used to illustrate the potential dark consequences of unchecked evolution.


An unbiased AI system is one that does not favor any particular group or individual and provides equivalent outputs for all. The video explains that biases can be linked to various factors such as gender, race, or income level. It is crucial to prevent the incorporation of biases in the system's rules and to use representative training data. The movie industry's box-office prediction models are cited as an example of inherent bias, relying on past success statistics without considering cultural shifts.


Safety ensures that an AI-based system does not cause harm to people, property, or the environment. The video points out the challenge of ensuring safety due to the 'black box' nature of AI systems, which can make their decision-making processes unclear. It draws parallels with popular culture's portrayal of machines taking over the world, emphasizing the need for transparency and control measures to prevent such scenarios.


Ethics in AI refers to the moral principles and values that guide the development and use of AI technologies. The video discusses the profound impact AI can have on society and the economy, and the importance of using AI ethically. It raises questions about decision-making in AI, such as an autonomous vehicle's potential need to make life-or-death decisions, and how those decisions should be ethically grounded.


Transparency in AI systems means that the workings, data, and algorithms of the system are accessible and understandable to users. The video uses the example of HAL9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey to illustrate the dangers of a lack of transparency, where the AI's actions and motivations are ambiguous, leading to catastrophic outcomes. It emphasizes the need for users to trust AI systems, which can be achieved through increased transparency.


Interpretability is the quality of an AI system that allows users to understand the reasoning behind its decisions or predictions. The video highlights the importance of interpretability in building trust and ensuring that AI systems are used responsibly. It is a key component of Explainable AI (XAI), which aims to demystify the 'black box' nature of AI and empower users with the knowledge of how and why a particular outcome was reached.


Explainability refers to the ability of an AI system to provide clear and understandable explanations for its conclusions or actions. The video discusses the concept of Explainable AI (XAI) and the need for users to comprehend how AI systems arrive at their results. This is crucial for building user confidence, safeguarding against bias, and meeting regulatory standards. It is illustrated through the example of the movie industry's biased prediction models, which lack the ability to explain their reasoning behind box-office forecasts.


Flexibility and adaptability of AI systems allow for use in unforeseen situations and modifications to new environments.

AI systems should be designed with specified time and resources for adaptation to maintain efficiency and effectiveness.

Autonomy in AI systems refers to their ability to operate independently from human control, with clear boundaries and manual override options.

Evolution in AI systems is crucial for self-improvement in dynamic environments, but must be monitored to ensure alignment with original requirements and human values.

Unbiased AI systems are essential to avoid favoritism towards any group, requiring representative training data and rules free from prejudice.

AI systems must consider cultural shifts and trends to avoid built-in biases that can lead to incorrect predictions and decisions.

Side effects and reward hacking can lead to unintended consequences in AI system outcomes, necessitating careful design and monitoring.

Safety is a paramount requirement for AI systems, ensuring they do not cause harm to people, property, or the environment.

Ethical considerations in AI development are vital for societal transformation, welfare improvement, and addressing global challenges.

Transparency, interpretability, and explainability of AI systems are critical for building user trust and ensuring responsible AI applications.

Explainable AI (XAI) aims to demystify AI decision-making processes, allowing users to understand and verify system outputs.

XAI principles include interpretability, explainability, transparency, justifiability, and contestability to empower users and meet social value.

The Royal Society and OECD have developed guidelines for XAI to help ensure ethical and transparent AI applications.

AI testing is a growing field that focuses on the reliability, safety, and ethical implementation of AI systems.

Movies often depict AI characteristics and challenges, providing a cultural context for understanding AI's societal impact.