Characterizing Bias in Classifiers using Generative Models

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Daniel McDuff, Shuang Ma, Yale Song, Ashish Kapoor


Models that are learned from real-world data are often biased because the data used to train them is biased. This can propagate systemic human biases that exist and ultimately lead to inequitable treatment of people, especially minorities. To characterize bias in learned classifiers, existing approaches rely on human oracles labeling real-world examples to identify the "blind spots" of the classifiers; these are ultimately limited due to the human labor required and the finite nature of existing image examples. We propose a simulation-based approach for interrogating classifiers using generative adversarial models in a systematic manner. We incorporate a progressive conditional generative model for synthesizing photo-realistic facial images and Bayesian Optimization for an efficient interrogation of independent facial image classification systems. We show how this approach can be used to efficiently characterize racial and gender biases in commercial systems.