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Medical systems in general, and patient treatment decisions and outcomes in particular, are affected by bias based on gender and other demographic elements. As language models are increasingly applied to medicine, there is a growing interest in building algorithmic fairness into processes impacting patient care. Much of the work addressing this question has focused on biases encoded in language models -- statistical estimates of the relationships between concepts derived from distant reading of corpora. Building on this work, we investigate how word choices made by healthcare practitioners and language models interact with regards to bias. We identify and remove gendered language from two clinical-note datasets and describe a new debiasing procedure using BERT-based gender classifiers. We show minimal degradation in health condition classification tasks for low- to medium-levels of bias removal via data augmentation. Finally, we compare the bias semantically encoded in the language models with the bias empirically observed in health records. This work outlines an interpretable approach for using data augmentation to identify and reduce the potential for bias in natural language processing pipelines.
The emergence and continued reliance on the Internet and related technologies has resulted in the generation of large amounts of data that can be made available for analyses. However, humans do not possess the cognitive capabilities to understand such large amounts of data. Machine learning (ML) provides a mechanism for humans to process large amounts of data, gain insights about the behavior of the data, and make more informed decision based on the resulting analysis. ML has applications in various fields. This review focuses on some of the fields and applications such as education, healthcare, network security, banking and finance, and social media. Within these fields, there are multiple unique challenges that exist. However, ML can provide solutions to these challenges, as well as create further research opportunities. Accordingly, this work surveys some of the challenges facing the aforementioned fields and presents some of the previous literature works that tackled them. Moreover, it suggests several research opportunities that benefit from the use of ML to address these challenges.