AI News, Microsoft Research Blog
- On Sunday, September 30, 2018
- By Read More
Microsoft Research Blog
Over the past decade, machine learning systems have begun to play a key role in many high-stakes decisions: Who is interviewed for a job?
However, news stories and numerous research studies have found that machine learning systems can inadvertently discriminate against minorities, historically disadvantaged populations and other groups.
In essence, this is because machine learning systems are trained to replicate decisions present in the data with which they are trained and these decisions reflect society’s historical biases.
Our work, outlined in a paper titled, “A Reductions Approach to Fair Classification,” presented this month at the 35th International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML 2018) in Stockholm, Sweden, focuses on some of these challenges, providing a provably and empirically sound method for turning any common classifier into a “fair” classifier according to any of a wide range of fairness definitions.
To understand our method, consider the process of choosing applicants to interview for a job where it is desirable to have an interview pool that is balanced with respect to gender and race—a fairness definition known as demographic parity.
Our method can turn a classifier that predicts who should be interviewed based on previous (potentially biased) hiring decisions into a classifier that predicts who should be interviewed while also respecting demographic parity (or another fairness definition).
For instance, applicants of a certain gender or race might be upweighted or downweighted, so that the classification algorithm is better able to find a classification rule that is fair with respect to the desired gender or racial proportions.
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