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DeBayes: a Bayesian Method for Debiasing Network Embeddings

Maarten Buyl · Tijl De Bie

Keywords: [ Networks and Relational Learning ] [ Representation Learning ] [ Fairness, Equity and Justice ] [ Fairness, Equity, Justice, and Safety ]


As machine learning algorithms are increasingly deployed for high-impact automated decision making, ethical and increasingly also legal standards demand that they treat all individuals fairly, without discrimination based on their age, gender, race or other sensitive traits. In recent years much progress has been made on ensuring fairness and reducing bias in standard machine learning settings. Yet, for network embedding, with applications in vulnerable domains ranging from social network analysis to recommender systems, current options remain limited both in number and performance. We thus propose DeBayes: a conceptually elegant Bayesian method that is capable of learning debiased embeddings by using a biased prior. Our experiments show that these representations can then be used to perform link prediction that is significantly more fair in terms of popular metrics such as demographic parity and equalized opportunity.

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