Bálint Gyevnár

Portrait of Balint Research Postgraduate Student
Centre for Doctoral Training in Natural Language Processing
Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation
University of Edinburgh

I am a PhD student interested in building explainable AI technologies for autonomous vehicles that are human-centric and can converse with people using natural language.

My supervisors are Stefano V. Albrecht, Shay B. Cohen, and Chris G. Lucas.

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About me

I am a second-year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, and my interests broadly lie in the fields of explainable AI (XAI), causal reasoning, and conversational agents. Most current post-hoc XAI systems rely on a combination of black-box systems and surrogate models to generate explanations based on, for example, feature importance. However, these are difficult to justify in terms of the causality behind the black-box system that generated our decisions. What is worse, the generated explanations are expert-oriented which ignore real human requirements, such as intelligibility or dialogue.

To give satisfying answers to real-world questions we must incorporate the appropriate causal information into natural language replies, while taking into consideration the cognitive biases of people. Appealing to the social nature of people requires a dialogue-oriented explanation process and a focus on human evaluation.

My current research focuses on building human-centric trustworthy AI for autonomous vehicles to support their wider public adoption. I gave a detailed outline of my vision for this project in an award winning essay and a blog post. In particular, I am looking to achieve this goal by integrating causally explainable methods with autonomous vehicle motion planning (e.g. IGP2 [Albrecht et al., 2021]) and semantic dialogue systems to deliver relevant explanations about the behaviour of the vehicle.


I am originally from the small suburban town of Göd located some 30 minutes north of Budapest, Hungary. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Edinburgh gaining a first-class integrated master’s degree in informatics (MInf). I also studied abroad for a year at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. My thesis supervisor was Maria Wolters with whom I worked on understanding how and why users deleted or hid their user accounts on social media during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I have also completed a research internship at Five, where I helped with the evaluation of the interpretable goal-based motion planner for autonomous vehicles called IGP2.


I often spend my free time learning languages. Currently, I speak five. In decreasing order of fluency these are: Hungarian, English, German, Japanese, and Russian.

I like playing volleyball and I am currently the treasurer of the Edinburgh University Volleyball Club. My favourite position to play is the setter. I also enjoy walking with people among the stark landscapes of the Scottish Highlands and taking some breath-taking photos while enduring harsh weather.

Occasionally, I sit down to practise the piano. At the moment, I am working through the second movement of Schubert’s piano sonata in B-flat major (D 960). Currently, I am reading The Player of Games by Iain Banks. A list of books I have read since I have begun keeping records is here.