As machine learning becomes more widely adopted across domains, it is critical that researchers and ML engineers think about the inherent biases in the data that may be perpetuated by the model. Recently, many studies have shown that such biases are also imbibed in Graph Neural Network (GNN) models if the input graph is biased, potentially to the disadvantage of underserved and underrepresented communities. In this work, we aim to mitigate the bias learned by GNNs by jointly optimizing two different loss functions: one for the task of link prediction and one for the task of demographic parity. We further implement three different techniques inspired by graph modification approaches: the Global Fairness Optimization (GFO), Constrained Fairness Optimization (CFO), and Fair Edge Weighting (FEW) models. These techniques mimic the effects of changing underlying graph structures within the GNN and offer a greater degree of interpretability over more integrated neural network methods. Our proposed models emulate microscopic or macroscopic edits to the input graph while training GNNs and learn node embeddings that are both accurate and fair under the context of link recommendations. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach on four real world datasets and show that we can improve themore »
Recovering from Biased Data: Can Fairness Constraints Improve Accuracy?
Multiple fairness constraints have been proposed in the literature, motivated by a range of concerns about how demographic groups might be treated unfairly by machine learning classifiers. In this work we consider a different motivation; learning from biased training data. We posit several ways in which training data may be biased, including having a more noisy or negatively biased labeling process on members of a disadvantaged group, or a decreased prevalence of positive or negative examples from the disadvantaged group, or both. Given such biased training data, Empirical Risk Minimization (ERM) may produce a classifier that not only is biased but also has suboptimal accuracy on the true data distribution. We examine the ability of fairness-constrained ERM to correct this problem. In particular, we find that the Equal Opportunity fairness constraint [Hardt et al., 2016] combined with ERM will provably recover the Bayes optimal classifier under a range of bias models. We also consider other recovery methods including re-weighting the training data, Equalized Odds, and Demographic Parity, and Calibration. These theoretical results provide additional motivation for considering fairness interventions even if an actor cares primarily about accuracy.
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- Symposium on Foundations of Responsible Computing (FORC)
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- National Science Foundation
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