Paper session 8: Formal Implementations of Fairness Criteria

Fri 21 04:30 PDT

#163 Towards Unbiased and Accurate Deferral to Multiple Experts

Vijay Keswani, Matthew Lease, Krishnaram Kenthapadi

Machine learning models are often implemented in cohort with humans in the pipeline, with the model having an option to defer to a domain expert in cases where it has low confidence in its inference. Our goal is to design mechanisms for ensuring accuracy and fairness in such prediction systems that combine machine learning model inferences and domain expert predictions. Prior work on "deferral systems" in classification settings has focused on the setting of a pipeline with a single expert and aimed to accommodate the inaccuracies and biases of this expert to simultaneously learn an inference model and a deferral system. Our work extends this framework to settings where multiple experts are available, with each expert having their own domain of expertise and biases. We propose a framework that simultaneously learns a classifier and a deferral system, with the deferral system choosing to defer to one or more human experts in cases of input where the classifier has low confidence. We test our framework on a synthetic dataset and a content moderation dataset with biased synthetic experts, and show that it significantly improves the accuracy and fairness of the final predictions, compared to the baselines. We also collect crowdsourced labels for the content moderation task to construct a real-world dataset for the evaluation of hybrid machine-human frameworks and show that our proposed framework outperforms baselines on this real-world dataset as well.

Fri 21 04:45 PDT

#166 FairOD: Fairness-Aware Outlier Detection

Shubhranshu Shekhar, Neil Shah, Leman Akoglu

Fairness and Outlier Detection (OD) are closely related, as it is exactly the goal of OD to spot rare, minority samples in a given population. However, when being a minority (as defined by protected variables, such as race/ethnicity/sex/age) does not reflect positive-class membership (such as criminal/fraud), OD produces unjust outcomes. Surprisingly, fairness-aware OD has been almost untouched in prior work, as fair machine learning literature mainly focuses on supervised settings. Our work aims to bridge this gap. Specifically, we develop desiderata capturing well-motivated fairness criteria for OD,and systematically formalize the fair OD problem. Further, guided by our desiderata, we propose FairOD, a fairness-aware outlier detector that has the following desirable properties: FairOD (1) exhibits treatment parity at test time, (2) aims to flag equal proportions of samples from all groups (i.e. obtain group fairness, via statistical parity), and (3) strives to flag truly high-risk samples within each group. Extensive experiments on a diverse set of synthetic and real world datasets show that FairOD produces outcomes that are fair with respect to protected variables, while performing comparable to (and in some cases, even better than) fairness-agnostic detectors in terms of detection performance.

Fri 21 05:00 PDT

#195 Minimax Group Fairness: Algorithms and Experiments

Emily Diana, Michael Kearns, Aaron Roth, Wesley Gill, Krishnaram Kenthapadi

We consider a recently introduced framework in which fairness is measured by worst-case outcomes across groups, rather than by the more standard differences between group outcomes. In this framework we provide provably convergent oracle-efficient learning algorithms (or equivalently, reductions to non-fair learning) for minimax group fairness. Here the goal is that of minimizing the maximum loss across all groups, rather than equalizing group losses. Our algorithms apply to both regression and classification settings and support both overall error and false positive or false negative rates as the fairness measure of interest. They also support relaxations of the fairness constraints, thus permitting study of the tradeoff between overall accuracy and minimax fairness. We compare the experimental behavior and performance of our algorithms across a variety of fairness-sensitive data sets and show empirical cases in which minimax fairness is strictly and strongly preferable to equal outcome notions.