Learning Adversarially Fair and Transferable Representations

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David Madras, Elliot Creager, Toniann Pitassi, Richard Zemel ;
Proceedings of the 35th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 80:3384-3393, 2018.

Abstract

In this paper, we advocate for representation learning as the key to mitigating unfair prediction outcomes downstream. Motivated by a scenario where learned representations are used by third parties with unknown objectives, we propose and explore adversarial representation learning as a natural method of ensuring those parties act fairly. We connect group fairness (demographic parity, equalized odds, and equal opportunity) to different adversarial objectives. Through worst-case theoretical guarantees and experimental validation, we show that the choice of this objective is crucial to fair prediction. Furthermore, we present the first in-depth experimental demonstration of fair transfer learning and demonstrate empirically that our learned representations admit fair predictions on new tasks while maintaining utility, an essential goal of fair representation learning.

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