Algorithmic recourse: from theory to practice

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Algorithmic recourse: from theory to practice

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  • In this talk I will introduce the concept of algorithmic recourse, which aims to help individuals affected by an unfavorable algorithmic decision to recover from it. First, I will show that while the concept of algorithmic recourse is strongly related to counterfactual explanations, existing methods for the later do not directly provide practical solutions for algorithmic recourse, as they do not account for the causal mechanisms covering the world. Then, I will show theoretical results that prove the need of complete causal knowledge to guarantee recourse and show how algorithmic recourse can be useful to provide novel fairness definitions that short the focus from the algorithm to the data distribution. Such novel definition of fairness allows us to distinguish between situations where unfairness can be better addressed by societal intervention, as opposed to changes on the classifiers. Finally, I will show practical solutions for (fairness in) algorithmic recourse, in realistic scenarios where the causal knowledge is only limited.

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