Envy-Free Classification

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

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Maria-Florina F. Balcan, Travis Dick, Ritesh Noothigattu, Ariel D. Procaccia


<p>In classic fair division problems such as cake cutting and rent division, envy-freeness requires that each individual (weakly) prefer his allocation to anyone else's. On a conceptual level, we argue that envy-freeness also provides a compelling notion of fairness for classification tasks, especially when individuals have heterogeneous preferences. Our technical focus is the generalizability of envy-free classification, i.e., understanding whether a classifier that is envy free on a sample would be almost envy free with respect to the underlying distribution with high probability. Our main result establishes that a small sample is sufficient to achieve such guarantees, when the classifier in question is a mixture of deterministic classifiers that belong to a family of low Natarajan dimension.</p>