Jump to Content
Jilin Chen

Jilin Chen

Authored Publications
Google Publications
Other Publications
Sort By
  • Title
  • Title, desc
  • Year
  • Year, desc
    Towards A Scalable Solution for Improving Multi-Group Fairness in Compositional Classification
    Tina Tian
    Ben Packer
    Meghana Deodhar
    Alex Beutel
    The Second Workshop on Spurious Correlations, Invariance and Stability @ ICML 2023 (2023)
    Preview abstract Despite the rich literature on machine learning fairness, relatively little attention has been paid to remediating complex systems, where the final prediction is the combination of multiple classifiers and where multiple groups are present. In this paper, we first show that natural baseline approaches for improving equal opportunity fairness scale linearly with the product of the number of remediated groups and the number of remediated prediction labels, rendering them impractical. We then introduce two simple techniques, called task-overconditioning and group-interleaving, to achieve a constant scaling in this multi-group multi-label setup. Our experimental results in academic and real-world environments demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposal at mitigation within this environment. View details
    A Mixed-Methods Approach to Understanding User Trust after Voice Assistant Failures
    Allison Mercurio
    Amanda Elizabeth Baughan
    Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Pages (2023)
    Preview abstract Despite huge gains in performance in natural language understanding via large language models in recent years, voice assistants still often fail to meet user expectations. In this study, we conducted a mixed-methods analysis of how voice assistant failures affect users' trust in their voice assistants. To illustrate how users have experienced these failures, we contribute a crowdsourced dataset of 199 voice assistant failures, categorized across 12 failure sources. Relying on interview and survey data, we find that certain failures, such as those due to overcapturing users' input, derail user trust more than others. We additionally examine how failures impact users' willingness to rely on voice assistants for future tasks. Users often stop using their voice assistants for specific tasks that result in failures for a short period of time before resuming similar usage. We demonstrate the importance of low stakes tasks, such as playing music, towards building trust after failures. View details
    Preview abstract Language models still struggle on moral reasoning, despite their impressive performance in many other tasks. In particular, the Moral Scenarios task in MMLU (Multi-task Language Understanding) is among the worst performing tasks for many language models, including GPT-3. In this work, we propose a new prompting framework, Thought Experiments, to teach language models to do better moral reasoning using counterfactuals. Experiment results show that our framework elicits counterfactual questions and answers from the model, which in turn helps improve the accuracy on Moral Scenarios task by 9-16% compared to other zero-shot baselines. Interestingly, unlike math reasoning tasks, zero-shot Chain-of-Thought (CoT) reasoning doesn't work out of the box, and even reduces accuracy by around 4% compared to direct zero-shot. We further observed that with minimal human supervision in the form of 5 few-shot examples, the accuracy of the task can be improved to as much as 80%. View details
    Preview abstract Large pre-trained language models have shown remarkable performance over the past few years. These models, however, sometimes learn superficial features from the dataset and cannot generalize to the distributions that are dissimilar to the training scenario. There have been several approaches proposed to reduce model's reliance on these bias features which can improve model robustness in the out-of-distribution setting. However, existing methods usually use a fixed low-capacity model to deal with various bias features, which ignore the learnability of those features. In this paper, we analyze a set of existing bias features and demonstrate there is no single model that works best for all the cases. We further show that by choosing an appropriate bias model, we can obtain a better robustness result than baselines with a more sophisticated model design. View details
    A Human-ML Collaboration Framework for Improving Video Content Reviews
    Alex Beutel
    Alex Koes
    Meghana Deodhar
    Yixin Cai
    ACM CIKM 2022 Workshop Human-in-the-Loop Data Curation (2022)
    Preview abstract We deal with the problem of localized in-video taxonomic human annotation in the video content moderation domain, where the goal is to identify video segments that violate granular policies, e.g., community guidelines on an online video platform. High quality human labeling is critical for enforcement in content moderation. This is challenging due to the problem of information overload - raters need to apply a large taxonomy of granular policy violations with ambiguous definitions, within a limited review duration to relatively long videos. Our key contribution is a novel human-machine learning (ML) collaboration framework aimed at maximizing the quality and efficiency of human decisions in this setting - human labels are used to train segment-level models, the predictions of which are displayed as "hints" to human raters, indicating probable regions of the video with specific policy violations. The human verified/corrected segment labels can help refine the model further, hence creating a human-ML positive feedback loop. Experiments show improved human video moderation decision quality, and efficiency through more granular annotations submitted within a similar review duration, which enable a 5-8% AUC improvement in the hint generation models. View details
    Measuring Model Fairness under Noisy Covariates: A Theoretical Perspective
    Aditee Ajit Kumthekar
    Alex Beutel
    Li Wei
    Nick Blumm
    Pranjal Awasthi
    Trevor Potter
    AIES (2021)
    Preview abstract In this work we study the problem of measuring the fairness of a machine learning model under noisy information. In many applications, evaluating a model according to a well-specified metric such as the FPR requires access to variables that cannot be jointly observed in a given practical setting. A standard workaround is to then use proxies for one or more of these variables. These proxies are either obtained using domain expertise or by training another machine learning model. Prior works have demonstrated the dangers of using such an approach, and strong independence assumptions are needed to provide guarantees on the accuracy of the noisy estimates via proxies. In contrast, in this work we present a general theoretical framework that aims to characterize weaker conditions under which accurate model auditing is possible via the above approach. Furthermore, our theory identifies potential sources of errors and decouples them into two interpretable parts Epsilon_c and Epsilon_g. The first part depends on natural properties of the proxy such as precision and recall, whereas the second part captures correlations between different variables of interest. We show that in many scenarios the error in the estimates is dominated by the Epsilon_c via a linear dependence, whereas the dependence on the correlations only constitutes a lower order term. As a result we expand the understanding of scenarios where model auditing via proxies can be an effective approach. Finally, we compare via simulations the theoretical upper-bounds to the distribution of simulated estimation errors and show that both theoretical guarantees and empirical results significantly improve as we progressively enforce structure along the conditions highlighted by the theory. View details
    Preview abstract Most literature in fairness has focused on improving fairness with respect to one single model or one single objective. However, real-world machine learning systems are usually composed of many different components. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that even if each component is "fair", the overall system can still be "unfair". In this paper, we focus on how well fairness composes over multiple components in real systems. We consider two recently proposed fairness metrics for rankings: exposure and pairwise ranking accuracy gap. We provide theory that demonstrates a set of conditions under which fairness of individual models does compose. We then present an analytical framework for both understanding whether a system's signals can achieve compositional fairness, and diagnosing which of these signals lowers the overall system's end-to-end fairness the most. Despite previously bleak theoretical results, on multiple data-sets -- including a large-scale real-world recommender system -- we find that the overall system's end-to-end fairness is largely achievable by improving fairness in individual components. View details
    Preview abstract As multi-task models gain popularity in a wider range of machine learning applications, it is becoming increasingly important for practitioners to understand the fairness implications associated with those models. Most existing fairness literature focuses on learning a single task more fairly, while how ML fairness interacts with multiple tasks in the joint learning setting is largely under-explored. In this paper, we are concerned with how group fairness (e.g., equal opportunity, equalized odds) as an ML fairness concept plays out in the multi-task scenario. In multi-task learning, several tasks are learned jointly to exploit task correlations for a more efficient inductive transfer. This presents a multi-dimensional Pareto frontier on (1) the trade-off between group fairness and accuracy with respect to each task, as well as (2) the trade-offs across multiple tasks. We aim to provide a deeper understanding on how group fairness interacts with accuracy in multi-task learning, and we show that traditional approaches that mainly focus on optimizing the Pareto frontier of multi-task accuracy might not perform well on fairness goals. We propose a new set of metrics to better capture the multi-dimensional Pareto frontier of fairness-accuracy trade-offs uniquely presented in a multi-task learning setting. We further propose a Multi-Task-Aware Fairness (MTA-F) approach to improve fairness in multi-task learning. Experiments on several real-world datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed approach. View details
    Preview abstract NLP models are shown to suffer from robustness issues, for example, a model's prediction can be easily changed under small perturbations to the input. In this work, we aim to present a Controlled Adversarial Text Generation (CAT-Gen) model that, given an input text, it can generate adversarial texts through controllable attributes that are known to be invariant to task labels. For example, for a main task like sentiment classification, an example attribute can be different categories/domains, and a model should have similar performance across them; for a coreference resolution task, a model's performance should not differ across different demographic attributes. Different from many existing adversarial text generation approaches, we show that our model can generate adversarial texts that are more fluent, diverse, and with better task-label invariance guarantees. We aim to use this model to generate counterfactual texts that could better improve robustness in NLP models (e.g., through adversarial training), and we argue that our generation can create more natural attacks. View details
    Preview abstract Much of the previous machine learning (ML) fairness literature assumes that protected features such as race and sex are present in the dataset, and relies upon them to mitigate fairness concerns. However, in practice factors like privacy and regulation often preclude the collection of protected features, or their use for training or inference, severely limiting the applicability of traditional fairness research. Therefore we ask: How can we train an ML model to improve fairness when we do not even know the protected group memberships? In this work we address this problem by proposing Adversarially Reweighted Learning (ARL). In particular, we hypothesize that non-protected features and task labels are valuable for identifying fairness issues, and can be used to co-train an adversarial reweighting approach for improving fairness. Our results show that ARL improves Rawlsian Max-Min fairness, with notable AUC improvements for worst-case protected groups in multiple datasets, outperforming state-of-the-art alternatives. View details
    Preview abstract Large pre-trained models have revolutionized natural language understanding. However, researchers have found they can encode correlations undesired in many applications, like \emph{surgeon} being associated more with \emph{he} than \emph{she}. We explore such \emph{gendered correlations} as a case study, to learn how we can configure and train models to mitigate the risk of encoding unintended associations. We find that it is important to define correlation metrics, since they can reveal differences among models with similar accuracy. Large models have more capacity to encode gendered correlations, but this can be mitigated with general dropout regularization. Counterfactual data augmentation is also effective, and can even reduce correlations not explicitly targeted for mitigation, potentially making it useful beyond gender too. Both techniques yield models with comparable accuracy to unmitigated analogues, and still resist re-learning correlations in fine-tuning. View details
    Preview abstract As recent literature has demonstrated how classifiers often carry unintended biases toward some subgroups, deploying machine learned models to users demands careful consideration of the social consequences. How should we address this problem in a real-world system? How should we balance core performance and fairness metrics? In this paper, we introduce a MinDiff framework for regularizing classifiers toward different fairness metrics and analyze a technique with kernel-based statistical dependency tests. We run a thorough study on an academic dataset to compare the Pareto frontier achieved by different regularization approaches, and apply our kernel-based method to two large-scale industrial systems demonstrating real-world improvements. View details
    Preview abstract If our models are used in new or unexpected cases, do we know if they will make fair predictions? Previously, researchers developed ways to debias a model for a single problem domain. However, this is often not how models are trained and used in practice. For example, labels and demographics (sensitive attributes) are often hard to observe, resulting in auxiliary or synthetic data to be used for training, and proxies of the sensitive attribute to be used for evaluation of fairness. A model trained for one setting may be picked up and used in many others, particularly as is common with pre-training and cloud APIs. Despite the pervasiveness of these complexities, remarkably little work in the fairness literature has theoretically examined these issues. We frame all of these settings as domain adaptation problems: how can we use what we have learned in a source domain to debias in a new target domain, without directly debiasing on the target domain as if it is a completely new problem? We offer new theoretical guarantees of improving fairness across domains, and offer a modeling approach to transfer to data-sparse target domains. We give empirical results validating the theory and showing that these modeling approaches can improve fairness metrics with less data. View details
    Recommending What Video to Watch Next: A Multitask Ranking System
    Aditee Ajit Kumthekar
    Aniruddh Nath
    Li Wei
    Lichan Hong
    Mahesh Sathiamoorthy
    Shawn Andrews
    Recsys 2019 (2019)
    Preview abstract In this paper, we introduce a large scale multi-objective ranking system for recommending what video to watch next on an industrial video sharing platform. The system faces many real-world challenges, including the presence of multiple competing ranking objectives, as well as implicit selection biases in user feedback. To tackle these challenges, we explored a variety of soft-parameter sharing techniques such as Multi-gate Mixture-of-Experts so as to efficiently optimize for multiple ranking objectives. Additionally, we mitigated the selection biases by adopting a Wide & Deep frame- work. We demonstrated that our proposed techniques can lead to substantial improvements on recommendation quality on one of the world’s largest video sharing platforms. View details
    Fairness in Recommendation Ranking through Pairwise Comparisons
    Alex Beutel
    Tulsee Doshi
    Hai Qian
    Li Wei
    Yi Wu
    Lukasz Heldt
    Lichan Hong
    Cristos Goodrow
    KDD (2019)
    Preview abstract Recommender systems are one of the most pervasive applications of machine learning in industry, with many services using them to match users to products or information. As such it is important to ask: what are the possible fairness risks, how can we quantify them, and how should we address them? In this paper we offer a set of novel metrics for evaluating algorithmic fairness concerns in recommender systems. In particular we show how measuring fairness based on pairwise comparisons from randomized experiments provides a tractable means to reason about fairness in rankings from recommender systems. Building on this metric, we offer a new regularizer to encourage improving this metric during model training and thus improve fairness in the resulting rankings. We apply this pairwise regularization to a large-scale, production recommender system and show that we are able to significantly improve the system's pairwise fairness. View details
    Putting Fairness Principles into Practice: Challenges, Metrics, and Improvements
    Alex Beutel
    Tulsee Doshi
    Hai Qian
    Allison Woodruff
    Christine Luu
    Pierre Kreitmann
    Jonathan Bischof
    AAAI/ACM Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Ethics, and Society (AIES) (2019)
    Preview abstract As more researchers have become aware of and passionate about algorithmic fairness, there has been an explosion in papers laying out new metrics, suggesting algorithms to address issues, and calling attention to issues in existing applications of machine learning. This research has greatly expanded our understanding of the concerns and challenges in deploying machine learning, but there has been much less work in seeing how the rubber meets the road. In this paper we provide a case-study on the application of fairness in machine learning research to a production classification system, and offer new insights in how to measure and address algorithmic fairness issues. We discuss open questions in implementing equality of opportunity and describe our fairness metric, conditional equality, that takes into account distributional differences. Further, we provide a new approach to improve on the fairness metric during model training and demonstrate its efficacy in improving performance for a real-world product. View details
    Categorical-Attributes-Based Multi-Level Classification for Recommender Systems
    Qian Zhao
    Sagar Jain
    Alex Beutel
    Francois Belletti
    ACM Conference Series on Recommender Systems, RecSys (2018)
    Preview abstract Many techniques to utilize side information of users and/or items as inputs to recommenders to improve recommendation, especially on cold-start items/users, have been developed over the years. In this work, we test the approach of utilizing item side information, specifically categorical attributes, in the output of recommendation models either through multi-task learning or hierarchical classification. We first demonstrate the efficacy of these approaches for both matrix factorization and neural networks with a medium-size realword data set. We then show that they improve a neural-network based production model in an industrial-scale recommender system. We demonstrate the robustness of the hierarchical classification approach by introducing noise in building the hierarchy. Lastly, we investigate the generalizability of hierarchical classification on a simulated dataset by building two user models in which we can fully control the generative process of user-item interactions. View details
    Preview abstract Neural-based multi-task learning has been successfully used in many real-world large-scale applications such as recommendation systems. For example, in movie recommendations, beyond providing users movies which they tend to purchase and watch, the system might also optimize for users liking the movies afterwards. With multi-task learning, we aim to build a single model that learns these multiple goals and tasks simultaneously. However, the prediction quality of commonly used multi-task models is often sensitive to the relationships between tasks. It is therefore important to study the modeling tradeoffs between task-specific objectives and inter-task relationships. In this work, we propose a novel multi-task learning approach, Multi-gate Mixture-of-Experts (MMoE), which explicitly learns to model task relationships from data. We adapt the Mixture-of-Experts (MoE) structure to multi-task learning by sharing the expert submodels across all tasks, while also having a gating network trained to optimize each task. To validate our approach on data with different levels of task relatedness, we first apply it to a synthetic dataset where we control the task relatedness. We show that the proposed approach performs better than baseline methods when the tasks are less related. We also show that the MMoE structure results in an additional trainability benefit, depending on different levels of randomness in the training data and model initialization. Furthermore, we demonstrate the performance improvements by MMoE on real tasks including a binary classification benchmark, and a large-scale content recommendation system at Google. View details
    Preview abstract How can we learn classifier that is ``fair'' for a protected or sensitive group, when we do not know if the input to the classifier affects the protected group? How can we train such a classifier when data on the protected group is difficult to attain? In many settings, finding out the sensitive input attribute can be prohibitively expensive even during model training, and possibly impossible during model serving. For example, in recommender systems, if we want to predict if a user will click on a given recommendation, we often do not know many attributes of the user, e.g., race or age, and many attributes of the content are hard to determine, e.g., the language or topic. Thus, it is not feasible to use a different classifier calibrated based on knowledge of the sensitive attribute. Here, we use an adversarial training procedure to remove information about the sensitive attribute from the latent representation learned by a neural network. In particular, we study how the choice of data for the adversarial training effects the resulting fairness properties. We find two interesting results: a remarkably small amount of data is needed to train these models, and there is still a gap between the theoretical implications and the empirical results. View details
    No Results Found