Participatory Personalization in Classification

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Hailey Joren, Chirag Nagpal, Katherine A. Heller, Berk Ustun


Machine learning models are often personalized based on information that is protected, sensitive, self-reported, or costly to acquire. These models use information about people, but do not facilitate nor inform their consent. Individuals cannot opt out of reporting information that a model needs to personalize their predictions nor tell if they benefit from personalization in the first place. We introduce a new family of prediction models, called participatory systems, that let individuals opt into personalization at prediction time. We present a model-agnostic algorithm to learn participatory systems for supervised learning tasks where models are personalized with categorical group attributes. We conduct a comprehensive empirical study of participatory systems in clinical prediction tasks, comparing them to common approaches for personalization and imputation. Our results show that participatory systems can facilitate and inform consent in a way that improves performance and privacy across all groups who report personal data.