Causal Inference in Recommender Systems: A Survey and Future Directions

by   Chen Gao, et al.

Existing recommender systems extract the user preference based on learning the correlation in data, such as behavioral correlation in collaborative filtering, feature-feature, or feature-behavior correlation in click-through rate prediction. However, regretfully, the real world is driven by causality rather than correlation, and correlation does not imply causation. For example, the recommender systems can recommend a battery charger to a user after buying a phone, in which the latter can serve as the cause of the former, and such a causal relation cannot be reversed. Recently, to address it, researchers in recommender systems have begun to utilize causal inference to extract causality, enhancing the recommender system. In this survey, we comprehensively review the literature on causal inference-based recommendation. At first, we present the fundamental concepts of both recommendation and causal inference as the basis of later content. We raise the typical issues that the non-causality recommendation is faced. Afterward, we comprehensively review the existing work of causal inference-based recommendation, based on a taxonomy of what kind of problem causal inference addresses. Last, we discuss the open problems in this important research area, along with interesting future works.


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