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Geoff Keeling

I am a research scientist at Google. I work on machine learning ethics. Previously, I was a bioethicist at Google Health. Before Google, I was a postdoc at Stanford University, based in the Institute for Human-Centered AI and the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society. I also spent time at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge.
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    Health equity assessment of machine learning performance (HEAL): a framework and dermatology AI model case study
    Mike Schaekermann
    Terry Spitz
    Malcolm Chelliah
    Heather Cole-Lewis
    Yuan Liu
    Stephanie Farquhar
    Qinghan Xue
    Jenna Lester
    Cían Hughes
    Patricia Strachan
    Fraser Tan
    Peggy Bui
    Craig Mermel
    Lily Peng
    Sunny Virmani
    Christopher Semturs
    Ivor Horn
    Cameron Chen
    The Lancet eClinicalMedicine (2024)
    Preview abstract Background Artificial intelligence (AI) has repeatedly been shown to encode historical inequities in healthcare. We aimed to develop a framework to quantitatively assess the performance equity of health AI technologies and to illustrate its utility via a case study. Methods Here, we propose a methodology to assess whether health AI technologies prioritise performance for patient populations experiencing worse outcomes, that is complementary to existing fairness metrics. We developed the Health Equity Assessment of machine Learning performance (HEAL) framework designed to quantitatively assess the performance equity of health AI technologies via a four-step interdisciplinary process to understand and quantify domain-specific criteria, and the resulting HEAL metric. As an illustrative case study (analysis conducted between October 2022 and January 2023), we applied the HEAL framework to a dermatology AI model. A set of 5420 teledermatology cases (store-and-forward cases from patients of 20 years or older, submitted from primary care providers in the USA and skin cancer clinics in Australia), enriched for diversity in age, sex and race/ethnicity, was used to retrospectively evaluate the AI model's HEAL metric, defined as the likelihood that the AI model performs better for subpopulations with worse average health outcomes as compared to others. The likelihood that AI performance was anticorrelated to pre-existing health outcomes was estimated using bootstrap methods as the probability that the negated Spearman's rank correlation coefficient (i.e., “R”) was greater than zero. Positive values of R suggest that subpopulations with poorer health outcomes have better AI model performance. Thus, the HEAL metric, defined as p (R >0), measures how likely the AI technology is to prioritise performance for subpopulations with worse average health outcomes as compared to others (presented as a percentage below). Health outcomes were quantified as disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) when grouping by sex and age, and years of life lost (YLLs) when grouping by race/ethnicity. AI performance was measured as top-3 agreement with the reference diagnosis from a panel of 3 dermatologists per case. Findings Across all dermatologic conditions, the HEAL metric was 80.5% for prioritizing AI performance of racial/ethnic subpopulations based on YLLs, and 92.1% and 0.0% respectively for prioritizing AI performance of sex and age subpopulations based on DALYs. Certain dermatologic conditions were significantly associated with greater AI model performance compared to a reference category of less common conditions. For skin cancer conditions, the HEAL metric was 73.8% for prioritizing AI performance of age subpopulations based on DALYs. Interpretation Analysis using the proposed HEAL framework showed that the dermatology AI model prioritised performance for race/ethnicity, sex (all conditions) and age (cancer conditions) subpopulations with respect to pre-existing health disparities. More work is needed to investigate ways of promoting equitable AI performance across age for non-cancer conditions and to better understand how AI models can contribute towards improving equity in health outcomes. View details
    Preview abstract This paper argues that the technical landscape of clinical machine learning is shifting in ways that destabilize these pervasive assumptions about the nature and causes of algorithmic bias. On the one hand, the dominant paradigm in clinical machine learning is specialist in the sense that models are trained on biomedical datasets for particular clinical tasks such as diagnosis and treatment recommendation. On the other hand, the emerging paradigm is generalist in the sense that general-purpose language models such as Google’s BERT and Meta’s OPT are increasingly being adapted for clinical use cases via fine-tuning on biomedical datasets. Many of these next-generation models provide substantial performance gains over prior clinical models, but at the same time introduce novel kinds of algorithmic bias and complicate the explanatory relationship between algorithmic biases and biases in training data. This paper articulates how and in what respects biases in generalist models differ from biases in prior clinical models, and draws out practical recommendations for algorithmic bias mitigation in medical machine learning technologies built using generalist language models. View details
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