Why Is My Classifier Discriminatory?

Abstract

Recent attempts to achieve fairness in predictive models focus on the balance between fairness and accuracy. In sensitive applications such as healthcare or criminal justice, this trade-off is often undesirable as any increase in prediction error could have devastating consequences. In this work, we argue that the fairness of predictions should be evaluated in context of the data, and that unfairness induced by inadequate samples sizes or unmeasured predictive variables should be addressed through data collection, rather than by constraining the model. We decompose cost-based metrics of discrimination into bias, variance, and noise, and propose actions aimed at estimating and reducing each term. Finally, we perform case-studies on prediction of income, mortality, and review ratings, confirming the value of this analysis. We find that data collection is often a means to reduce discrimination without sacrificing accuracy.

Publication
Proceedings of the 32nd International Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems
Irene Chen
Irene Chen
PhD Student

Irene works on machine learning methods to improve understanding of human health and reduce inequality.

David Sontag
David Sontag
Associate Professor of EECS

My research focuses on advancing machine learning and artificial intelligence, and using these to transform health care.

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