Eliciting and Enforcing Subjective Individual Fairness

Christopher Jung, Michael Kearns, Seth Neel, Aaron Roth, Logan Stapleton, Zhiwei Steven Wu
[arXiv]

We revisit the notion of individual fairness first proposed by Dwork et al. [2012], which asks that "similar individuals should be treated similarly". A primary difficulty with this definition is that it assumes a completely specified fairness metric for the task at hand. In contrast, we consider a framework for fairness elicitation, in which fairness is indirectly specified only via a sample of pairs of individuals who should be treated (approximately) equally on the task. We make no assumption that these pairs are consistent with any metric. We provide a provably convergent oracle-efficient algorithm for minimizing error subject to the fairness constraints, and prove generalization theorems for both accuracy and fairness. Since the constrained pairs could be elicited either from a panel of judges, or from particular individuals, our framework provides a means for algorithmically enforcing subjective notions of fairness. We report on preliminary findings of a behavioral study of subjective fairness using human-subject fairness constraints elicited on the COMPAS criminal recidivism dataset.