Fair Forests: Regularized Tree Induction to Minimize Model Bias

12/21/2017 ∙ by Edward Raff, et al. ∙ 0

The potential lack of fairness in the outputs of machine learning algorithms has recently gained attention both within the research community as well as in society more broadly. Surprisingly, there is no prior work developing tree-induction algorithms for building fair decision trees or fair random forests. These methods have widespread popularity as they are one of the few to be simultaneously interpretable, non-linear, and easy-to-use. In this paper we develop, to our knowledge, the first technique for the induction of fair decision trees. We show that our "Fair Forest" retains the benefits of the tree-based approach, while providing both greater accuracy and fairness than other alternatives, for both "group fairness" and "individual fairness.'" We also introduce new measures for fairness which are able to handle multinomial and continues attributes as well as regression problems, as opposed to binary attributes and labels only. Finally, we demonstrate a new, more robust evaluation procedure for algorithms that considers the dataset in its entirety rather than only a specific protected attribute.



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