Machine Learning techniques have become pervasive across a range of different applications, and are now widely used in areas as disparate as recidivism prediction, consumer credit-risk analysis and insurance pricing. The prevalence of machine learning techniques has raised concerns about the potential for learned algorithms to become biased against certain groups. Many definitions have been proposed in the literature, but the fundamental task of reasoning about probabilistic events is a challenging one, owing to the intractability of inference. The focus of this paper is taking steps towards the application of tractable models to fairness. Tractable probabilistic models have emerged that guarantee that conditional marginal can be computed in time linear in the size of the model. In particular, we show that sum product networks (SPNs) enable an effective technique for determining the statistical relationships between protected attributes and other training variables. If a subset of these training variables are found by the SPN to be independent of the training attribute then they can be considered `safe' variables, from which we can train a classification model without concern that the resulting classifier will result in disparate outcomes for different demographic groups. Our initial experiments on the `German Credit' data set indicate that this processing technique significantly reduces disparate treatment of male and female credit applicants, with a small reduction in classification accuracy compared to state of the art. We will also motivate the concept of "fairness through percentile equivalence", a new definition predicated on the notion that individuals at the same percentile of their respective distributions should be treated equivalently, and this prevents unfair penalisation of those individuals who lie at the extremities of their respective distributions.
- Pub Date:
- May 2019
- Computer Science - Machine Learning;
- Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence;
- Computer Science - Symbolic Computation;
- Statistics - Machine Learning
- In AAAI Workshop: Statistical Relational Artificial Intelligence (StarAI), 2020. (This is the extended version.)