Fairness via Representation Neutralization

Mengnan Du, Subhabrata Mukherjee, Guanchu Wang, Ruixiang Tang, Ahmed Hassan Awadallah, Xia Hu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Existing bias mitigation methods for DNN models primarily work on learning debiased encoders. This process not only requires a lot of instance-level annotations for sensitive attributes, it also does not guarantee that all fairness sensitive information has been removed from the encoder. To address these limitations, we explore the following research question: Can we reduce the discrimination of DNN models by only debiasing the classification head, even with biased representations as inputs? To this end, we propose a new mitigation technique, namely, Representation Neutralization for Fairness (RNF) that achieves fairness by debiasing only the task-specific classification head of DNN models. To this end, we leverage samples with the same ground-truth label but different sensitive attributes, and use their neutralized representations to train the classification head of the DNN model. The key idea of RNF is to discourage the classification head from capturing undesirable correlation between fairness sensitive information in encoder representations with specific class labels. To address low-resource settings with no access to sensitive attribute annotations, we leverage a bias-amplified model to generate proxy annotations for sensitive attributes. Experimental results over several benchmark datasets demonstrate our RNF framework to effectively reduce discrimination of DNN models with minimal degradation in task-specific performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 - 35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2021
EditorsMarc'Aurelio Ranzato, Alina Beygelzimer, Yann Dauphin, Percy S. Liang, Jenn Wortman Vaughan
PublisherNeural information processing systems foundation
Pages12091-12103
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781713845393
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Dec 6 2021Dec 14 2021

Publication series

NameAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
Volume15
ISSN (Print)1049-5258

Conference

Conference35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Period12/6/2112/14/21

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing

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