Published on Thu Feb 11 2021

Fairness-Aware Learning from Corrupted Data

Nikola Konstantinov, Christoph H. Lampert

Addressing fairness concerns about machine learning models is a crucial step toward their long-term adoption in real-world automated systems. We show that an adversary can force any learner to return a biased classifier, with or without degrading accuracy.

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Abstract

Addressing fairness concerns about machine learning models is a crucial step towards their long-term adoption in real-world automated systems. While many approaches have been developed for training fair models from data, little is known about the effects of data corruption on these methods. In this work we consider fairness-aware learning under arbitrary data manipulations. We show that an adversary can force any learner to return a biased classifier, with or without degrading accuracy, and that the strength of this bias increases for learning problems with underrepresented protected groups in the data. We also provide upper bounds that match these hardness results up to constant factors, by proving that two natural learning algorithms achieve order-optimal guarantees in terms of both accuracy and fairness under adversarial data manipulations.