Ben Fish

Microsoft Research



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Relational Equality: Modeling Unfairness in Hiring via Social Standing


Much recent work in machine learning has centered on formulating computational definitions of human values such as fairness. These translational efforts have largely focused on conceptualizing values easy to formalize, even if these resulting conceptualizations are narrow ones. In the literature on algorithmic fairness, for example, extant work has focused largely on distributional notions of equality, where equality is defined by the resources or decisions given to individuals in the system. On the other hand, it is not necessarily clear how to create computational definitions formalizing other notions of equality or fairness. One popular alternative has been proposed by the political philosopher Elizabeth Anderson, who focuses on the notion that equal social relations are central to human equality and fairness. In this work, we propose this relational equality as a viable alternative to extant definitions of algorithmic fairness in a hiring market. Key to doing so is being able to model social standing amongst individuals in computational models, so we focus on creating a computational definition of social standing.




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