Recommendation Independence

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Toshihiro Kamishima, Shotaro Akaho, Hideki Asoh, Jun Sakuma ;
Proceedings of the 1st Conference on Fairness, Accountability and Transparency, PMLR 81:187-201, 2018.

Abstract

This paper studies a recommendation algorithm whose outcomes are not influenced by specified information. It is useful in contexts potentially unfair decision should be avoided, such as job-applicant recommendations that are not influenced by socially sensitive information. An algorithm that could exclude the influence of sensitive information would thus be useful for job-matching with fairness. We call the condition between a recommendation outcome and a sensitive feature Recommendation Independence, which is formally defined as statistical independence between the outcome and the feature. Our previous independence-enhanced algorithms simply matched the means of predictions between sub-datasets consisting of the same sensitive value. However, this approach could not remove the sensitive information represented by the second or higher moments of distributions. In this paper, we develop new methods that can deal with the second moment, i.e., variance, of recommendation outcomes without increasing the computational complexity. These methods can more strictly remove the sensitive information, and experimental results demonstrate that our new algorithms can more effectively eliminate the factors that undermine fairness. Additionally, we explore potential applications for independence-enhanced recommendation, and discuss its relation to other concepts, such as recommendation diversity.

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