We present pairwise metrics of fairness for ranking and regression models that form analogues of statistical fairness notions such as equal opportunity or equal accuracy, as well as statistical parity. Our pairwise formulation supports both discrete protected groups, and continuous protected attributes. We show that the resulting training problems can be efficiently and effectively solved using constrained optimization and robust optimization techniques based on two player game algorithms developed for fair classification. Experiments illustrate the broad applicability and trade-offs of these methods.
We revisit the notion of individual fairness proposed by Dwork et al. A central challenge in operationalizing their approach is the difficulty in eliciting a human specification of a similarity metric. In this paper, we propose an operationalization of individual fairness that does not rely on a human specification of a distance metric. Instead, we propose novel approaches to elicit and leverage side-information on equally deserving individuals to counter subordination between social groups. We model this knowledge as a fairness graph, and learn a unified Pairwise Fair Representation(PFR) of the data that captures both data-driven similarity between individuals and the pairwise side-information in fairness graph. We elicit fairness judgments from a variety of sources, including humans judgments for two real-world datasets on recidivism prediction (COMPAS) and violent neighborhood prediction (Crime & Communities). Our experiments show that the PFR model for operationalizing individual fairness is practically viable.
Most literature in fairness has focused on improving fairness with respect to one single model or one single objective. However, real-world machine learning systems are usually composed of many different components. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that even if each component is "fair", the overall system can still be "unfair". In this paper, we focus on how well fairness composes over multiple components in real systems. We consider two recently proposed fairness metrics for rankings: exposure and pairwise ranking accuracy gap. We provide theory that demonstrates a set of conditions under which fairness of individual models does compose. We then present an analytical framework for both understanding whether a system's signals can achieve compositional fairness, and diagnosing which of these signals lowers the overall system's end-to-end fairness the most. Despite previously bleak theoretical results, on multiple data-sets -- including a large-scale real-world recommender system -- we find that the overall system's end-to-end fairness is largely achievable by improving fairness in individual components.
As recent literature has demonstrated how classifiers often carry unintended biases toward some subgroups, deploying machine learned models to users demands careful consideration of the social consequences. How should we address this problem in a real-world system? How should we balance core performance and fairness metrics? In this paper, we introduce a MinDiff framework for regularizing classifiers toward different fairness metrics and analyze a technique with kernel-based statistical dependency tests. We run a thorough study on an academic dataset to compare the Pareto frontier achieved by different regularization approaches, and apply our kernel-based method to two large-scale industrial systems demonstrating real-world improvements.
We consider the problem of online learning in the linear contextual bandits setting, but in which there are also strong individual fairness constraints governed by an unknown similarity metric. These constraints demand that we select similar actions or individuals with approximately equal probability DHPRZ12, which may be at odds with optimizing reward, thus modeling settings where profit and social policy are in tension. We assume we learn about an unknown Mahalanobis similarity metric from only weak feedback that identifies fairness violations, but does not quantify their extent. This is intended to represent the interventions of a regulator who "knows unfairness when he sees it" but nevertheless cannot enunciate a quantitative fairness metric over individuals. Our main result is an algorithm in the adversarial context setting that has a number of fairness violations that depends only logarithmically on T, while obtaining an optimal O(sqrt(T)) regret bound to the best fair policy.