Our paper, A Sequentially Fair Mechanism for Multiple Sensitive Attributes, with François Hu and Philipp Ratz, is now available on Arxiv,
In the standard use case of Algorithmic Fairness, the goal is to eliminate the relationship between a sensitive variable and a corresponding score. Throughout recent years, the scientific community has developed a host of definitions and tools to solve this task, which work well in many practical applications. However, the applicability and effectivity of these tools and definitions becomes less straightfoward in the case of multiple sensitive attributes. To tackle this issue, we propose a sequential framework, which allows to progressively achieve fairness across a set of sensitive features. We accomplish this by leveraging multi-marginal Wasserstein barycenters, which extends the standard notion of Strong Demographic Parity to the case with multiple sensitive characteristics. This method also provides a closed-form solution for the optimal, sequentially fair predictor, permitting a clear interpretation of inter-sensitive feature correlations. Our approach seamlessly extends to approximate fairness, enveloping a framework accommodating the trade-off between risk and unfairness. This extension permits a targeted prioritization of fairness improvements for a specific attribute within a set of sensitive attributes, allowing for a case specific adaptation. A data-driven estimation procedure for the derived solution is developed, and comprehensive numerical experiments are conducted on both synthetic and real datasets. Our empirical findings decisively underscore the practical efficacy of our post-processing approach in fostering fair decision-making.
Our new paper, with François Hu and Philipp Ratz, Addressing Fairness and Explainability in Image Classification Using Optimal Transport, is now available on ArXiv.
Algorithmic Fairness and the explainability of potentially unfair outcomes are crucial for establishing trust and accountability of Artificial Intelligence systems in domains such as healthcare and policing. Though significant advances have been made in each of the fields separately, achieving explainability in fairness applications remains challenging, particularly so in domains where deep neural networks are used. At the same time, ethical data-mining has become ever more relevant, as it has been shown countless times that fairness-unaware algorithms result in biased outcomes. Current approaches focus on mitigating biases in the outcomes of the model, but few attempts have been made to try to explain why a model is biased. To bridge this gap, we propose a comprehensive approach that leverages optimal transport theory to uncover the causes and implications of biased regions in images, which easily extends to tabular data as well. Through the use of Wasserstein barycenters, we obtain scores that are independent of a sensitive variable but keep their marginal orderings. This step ensures predictive accuracy but also helps us to recover the regions most associated with the generation of the biases. Our findings hold significant implications for the development of trustworthy and unbiased AI systems, fostering transparency, accountability, and fairness in critical decision-making scenarios across diverse domains.
Our new paper, with François Hu and Philipp Ratz, Mitigating Discrimination in Insurance with Wasserstein Barycenters is now available on ArXiv.
The insurance industry is heavily reliant on predictions of risks based on characteristics of potential customers. Although the use of said models is common, researchers have long pointed out that such practices perpetuate discrimination based on sensitive features such as gender or race. Given that such discrimination can often be attributed to historical data biases, an elimination or at least mitigation is desirable. With the shift from more traditional models to machine-learning based predictions, calls for greater mitigation have grown anew, as simply excluding sensitive variables in the pricing process can be shown to be ineffective. In this article, we first investigate why predictions are a necessity within the industry and why correcting biases is not as straightforward as simply identifying a sensitive variable. We then propose to ease the biases through the use of Wasserstein barycenters instead of simple scaling. To demonstrate the effects and effectiveness of the approach we employ it on real data and discuss its implications.
(fictitious maps used in the article)
With Mario Ghossoub, Alexander Schied, and our PhD student Hongda Hu, we recently uploaded a paper entitled Multiarmed Bandits Problem Under the Mean-Variance Setting on ArXiv,
The classical multi-armed bandit (MAB) problem involves a learner and a collection of K independent arms, each with its own ex ante unknown independent reward distribution. At each one of a finite number of rounds, the learner selects one arm and receives new information. The learner often faces an exploration-exploitation dilemma: exploiting the current information by playing the arm with the highest estimated reward versus exploring all arms to gather more reward information. The design objective aims to maximize the expected cumulative reward over all rounds. However, such an objective does not account for a risk-reward tradeoff, which is often a fundamental precept in many areas of applications, most notably in finance and economics. In this paper, we build upon Sani et al. (2012) and extend the classical MAB problem to a mean-variance setting. Specifically, we relax the assumptions of independent arms and bounded rewards made in Sani et al. (2012) by considering sub-Gaussian arms. We introduce the Risk Aware Lower Confidence Bound (RALCB) algorithm to solve the problem, and study some of its properties. Finally, we perform a number of numerical simulations to demonstrate that, in both independent and dependent scenarios, our suggested approach performs better than the algorithm suggested by Sani et al. (2012).