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What is ML Fairness Indicator?- All You Need to Know

By Nivin Biswas Category Machine Learning Reading time 10-13 mins Published on Nov 2, 2022

Importance of ML Fairness Indicator System and Its Adaption by Google!

Google has recently announced an ML fairness indicator, but before going further, we must get a brief on what the fairness indicator is.

Fairness indicator ensures people are treated uniformly - both in and out of the legal sphere. As machine learning systems gain a larger place in our society, it's important to think about how to ensure that we don't unintentionally discriminate against certain groups when making decisions with these modeled systems. Fairness is vital when building an ML model, as you need your models to be transparent and accountable so that users know how decisions are made.

Making crucial decisions in delicate areas like security or finances may be done using machine learning. Still, if allowed to do so without constant human oversight, there is a possibility of algorithmic bias creeping into the equation. This can cause algorithms to unfairly discriminate against particular social groups, which has led many researchers and scientists working on machine learning to advocate for fairness in machine learning.

A robot with a meter shows the level of fairness.

Why is the ML fairness indicator so important?

Fairness in data and machine learning algorithms is a critical component of building AI systems that are safe. Developers, both technical and business leaders alike, always look for ways to ensure fairness is at the heart of any AI system in development to avoid bias or introduce other unwanted side effects.

Data is fed into machine learning models during their training, and they then interpret the data as either "correct" or "wrong." Therefore, a large sample size must be used during the training phase to measure the model's accuracy precisely. But for this to happen, the resulting model also needs to have been taught to be non-discriminatory so it doesn't unfairly target groups that a machine learning algorithm may otherwise categorize.

Although good performance, even across slices, does not necessarily imply that a system is fair, it is nonetheless crucial to remember that fairness cannot be accomplished solely through measurements.

Instead, appraisal should be seen as one of the first methods to spot performance disparities. Observe that if top performers are consistently performing well across all slices (a slice is a part of the whole such as a sector, location, etc.), an evaluation might not find any gaps in classification models (which predict the possibility of something happening rather than assigning "good" or "bad"); however, by paying closer attention to whether top performers are receiving fair compensation, you can determine if your model is biassed.

Fairness metrics for classification models can be computed and visualized using the ML Fairness Indicators toolkit. It is simple to compare performance between layers or to a baseline layer using such measurements, which include false positive rate and false negative rate.

Google Research has found that, in most cases, business owners tend to be excited about the advantages of using ML and AI as part of their business expansion. However, one of the major stumbling blocks they have encountered while trying to become more agile is it presents an overwhelming amount of information and data that can lead to confusion and frustration.

Most people don't know where or how to begin or are struggling with what works for their specific situation. Google Research would like to help clear up some common misconceptions people have about utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. Researchers have put together a handy list of questions you should ask yourself before making any major decisions related directly to AI integration into your existing business processes.

The steps included in ML Fairness Indicator function detection process. Starting from the beginning, the consecutive steps include 'collect.' 'store,' 'Enrich,' 'Train/Apply,' 'Visualize.'

How to use the fairness and comprehensibility of open-source packages

Creating feature significance values for the entire model or specific data points will help you to explain model prediction better.

Real-world datasets should be used in training and inference to achieve model interpretability.

Utilize an interactive dashboard for visualization to find trends in the data and their justification throughout training.

Utilize different interactive visualizations to evaluate which user groups a model might have an unfavorable effect on and to compare the fairness and effectiveness of other models.

It offers a variety of metrics for comparing model performances across subgroups and dimensions.

The library enables the computation of metrics that are frequently used for binary and multiclass fairness evaluations such as

  • For classification models, calculate well-recognized fairness metrics.

  • Subgroup model performance should be compared to either a baseline or other models.

  • Discover statistically significant differences by using confidence intervals.

  • Evaluate several thresholds in your analysis.

Tools for Machine Learning (ML) fairness indicator:-

  • Component of a TFX pipeline termed as an evaluator

  • plugin for TensorBoard

  • Library for TensorFlow Model Analysis

  • A model-neutral TFMA library

Here are a few of the major and most prominent tools for the ML Fairness Indicator:-

The IBM AI Fairness 360 Toolkit is a Python-based toolkit that focuses on technical improvements using fairness measures and algorithms to assist users in examining, identifying, and mitigating bias and discrimination in machine learning (ML) models.

Google's What-if tool can be used to research and comprehend the models on which a given data set operates while also assisting in the fulfillment of certain business requirements. This application is intriguing since it enables users to investigate various notions of justice. from Microsoft is a Python package that employs several techniques designed to lessen "unfairness" in supervised machine learning.

To detect bias in machine learning algorithms, Facebook is creating an internal tool called " Fairness Flow."

The What-If Tool and TensorFlow Data Validation (TFDV) are coupled with ML Fairness Indicators using Fairness Indicators helps in

  • Analyze model performance as it relates to certain user groups.

  • With confidence intervals and assessments at various levels, results can be trusted.

  • Analyze how the datasets are distributed.

  • Examine each slice carefully to determine its underlying causes and future development.

The benefits of the ML fairness indicator include the following:-

  • Fairness suggests that it aids in carrying out projects consistently.
  • It increases transparency when working with machine learning models and making decisions.
  • For both developers and business owners, it is very dependable and secure.
  • With the help of the ML fairness indicator tools, we can easily guarantee good performance and accurate evaluation.

What's Next?

ML Fairness Indicators are just the beginning. Because researchers think it's crucial to learn from practical examples, we intend to create remediation libraries that can make use of techniques like active learning or min-diff. People also plan to expand horizontally by enabling metrics that haven't been supported yet, like techniques that evaluate classifiers without thresholds. To illustrate how we see ML Fairness Indicators growing over the upcoming few years as new features are introduced, we plan to ground our work in more case studies. So here are a few details on the ML Fairness Indicator, do let us know if you liked reading it.