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  1. Recent studies found that using machine learning for social applications can lead to injustice in the form of racist, sexist, and otherwise unfair and discriminatory outcomes. To address this challenge, recent machine learning algorithms have been designed to limit the likelihood such unfair behavior occurs. However, these approaches typically assume the data used for training is representative of what will be encountered in deployment, which is often untrue. In particular, if certain subgroups of the population become more or less probable in deployment (a phenomenon we call demographic shift), prior work's fairness assurances are often invalid. In this paper, wemore »consider the impact of demographic shift and present a class of algorithms, called Shifty algorithms, that provide high-confidence behavioral guarantees that hold under demographic shift when data from the deployment environment is unavailable during training. Shifty, the first technique of its kind, demonstrates an effective strategy for designing algorithms to overcome demographic shift's challenges. We evaluate Shifty using the UCI Adult Census dataset, as well as a real-world dataset of university entrance exams and subsequent student success. We show that the learned models avoid bias under demographic shift, unlike existing methods. Our experiments demonstrate that our algorithm's high-confidence fairness guarantees are valid in practice and that our algorithm is an effective tool for training models that are fair when demographic shift occurs.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 25, 2023
  2. We present RobinHood, an offline contextual bandit algorithm designed to satisfy a broad family of fairness constraints. Our algorithm accepts multiple fairness definitions and allows users to construct their own unique fairness definitions for the problem at hand. We provide a theoretical analysis of RobinHood, which includes a proof that it will not return an unfair solution with probability greater than a user-specified threshold. We validate our algorithm on three applications: a tutoring system in which we conduct a user study and consider multiple unique fairness definitions; a loan approval setting (using the Statlog German credit data set) in whichmore »well-known fairness definitions are applied; and criminal recidivism (using data released by ProPublica). In each setting, our algorithm is able to produce fair policies that achieve performance competitive with other offline and online contextual bandit algorithms.« less
  3. Intelligent machines using machine learning algorithms are ubiquitous, ranging from simple data analysis and pattern recognition tools to complex systems that achieve superhuman performance on various tasks. Ensuring that they do not exhibit undesirable behavior—that they do not, for example, cause harm to humans—is therefore a pressing problem. We propose a general and flexible framework for designing machine learning algorithms. This framework simplifies the problem of specifying and regulating undesirable behavior. To show the viability of this framework, we used it to create machine learning algorithms that precluded the dangerous behavior caused by standard machine learning algorithms in our experiments.more »Our framework for designing machine learning algorithms simplifies the safe and responsible application of machine learning.« less