Debiasing Embeddings for Fairer Text Classification

1st ACL Workshop on Gender Bias for Natural Language Processing(2019)
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(Bolukbasi et al., 2016) demonstrated that pre-trained word embeddings can inherit gender bias from the data they were trained on. We investigate how this bias affects downstream classification tasks, using the case study of occupation classification (De-Arteaga et al.,2019). We show that traditional techniques for debiasing embeddings can actually worsen the bias of the downstream classifier by providing a less noisy channel for communicating gender information. With a relatively minor adjustment, however, we show how these same techniques can be used to simultaneously reduce bias and obtain high classification accuracy.