Information School: Research Seminar - Dr Styliani Kleanthous, Open University of Cyprus.

22 October 2019 12:00-13:00. Dr Styliani Kleanthous, Open University of Cyprus.

Information School level 3: Digital Media Lab rm 324.

"Fairness in Proprietary Image Tagging Algorithms".


Image analysis algorithms have become indispensable in the modern information ecosystem. Beyond their early use in restricted domains (e.g., military, medical), they are now widely used in consumer applications and social media enabling functionality that users take for granted.
Recently image analysis algorithms, have become widely available as Cognitive Services. This practice is proving to be a boon to the development of applications where user modeling, personalization and adaptation are required. But while tagging APIs offer developers an inexpensive and convenient means to add functionality to their creations, most are opaque and proprietary and there are numerous social and ethical issues surrounding their use in contexts where people can be harmed. In this talk, I will discuss recent work in analyzing proprietary image tagging services (e.g., Clarifai, Google Vision, Amazon Rekognition) for their gender and racial biases when tagging images depicting people [1]. I will present our techniques for discrimination discovery in this domain, as well as our work on understanding user perceptions of fairness [2]. Finally, I will explore the sources of such biases, by comparing human versus machine descriptions of the same people images [3].

[1] Kyriakou, K., Barlas, P., Kleanthous, S., & Otterbacher, J. (2019, July). Fairness in Proprietary Image Tagging Algorithms: A Cross-Platform Audit on People Images. In Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (Vol. 13, No. 01, pp. 313-322).

[2] Barlas, P., Kleanthous, S., Kyriakou, K., & Otterbacher, J. (2019, June). What Makes an Image Tagger Fair?. In Proceedings of the 27th ACM Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization (pp. 95-103). ACM.

[3] Otterbacher J., Barlas, P., Kleanthous, S., Kyriakou, K. 2019.How Do We Talk About Other People? Group (Un)Fairness in Natural Language Image Descriptions. In Seventh AAAI Conference on Human Computation and Crowdsourcing (HCOMP).


Styliani Kleanthous Loizou (female, Ph.D., University of Leeds, UK) is a research scientist at the CyCAT, Open University of Cyprus as well as the Research Centre on Interactive Media, Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies (RISE). Styliani’s main research interests and expertise are concentrated in the area of User and Community Modeling, Personalization and Adaptive Systems. She specializes in exploiting psychological and social theories for modeling user preferences, for designing intelligent interaction and adaptive user support. She has published over 25 papers in journals and scientific conferences, co-organized a number of international workshops and has given numerous presentations. Since 2004 she has been involved in different UK and EU-funded research projects for establishing requirements, modeling users and providing adaptive support for collaboration, learning, medical data analysis and identifying innovation networks.

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The Information School at The University of Sheffield is a thriving community of students, educators and researchers dedicated to the study and advancement of the information field and its professions. Our field is characterised by its distinctive, interdisciplinary focus on the interactions between people, information and digital technologies. It has the ultimate goal of enhancing information access, and the management, sharing and use of information, to benefit society. Good information empowers people and enriches their lives. Expertise to use, design and manage information products, services and systems effectively has never been more important than today, in our increasingly fast-moving and complex world.

The School has been at the forefront of developments in the information field for more than fifty years. We are recognised as the leading school of our kind in the UK, with an international reputation for the quality of our teaching and research, and for the achievements of our graduates. Our research is world-leading and we achieved the highest possible grade in every one of the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) evaluations of research quality in UK universities since these began in 1989.

We achieved top positions in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 for research environment and for the impact of our research, based on the combined 4* (world-leading) and 3* (internationally excellent) categories. The results show that 100% of our research environment was judged to be of world-leading quality and 100% of our research impact was judged as world-leading or internationally excellent. Through our research we seek to make a significant intellectual contribution to advancing knowledge in our field, but also to impact on the practical management and use of information.

Information science is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary subject. Our staff backgrounds and research reflect influences from computing, health, chemistry and different arts and humanities and social sciences disciplines, as well as experience from professional practice in information roles. We have particular expertise in information and knowledge management, information systems, libraries and the information society, information retrieval, health informatics, data science and chemoinformatics. We run a vibrant doctoral programme which attracts students from many different countries to work with us in all of these areas.

Students who come to study with us at the Information School are an integral part of our research culture. The School is their home and we pride ourselves on the friendliness and helpfulness of staff. We offer students an outstanding academic education through a wide range of taught postgraduate degrees which embed the principles of research-led teaching. Students joining any of our degree programmes will develop a critical understanding of current issues in library and information management and will benefit from being taught by staff who are undertaking leading-edge research and who have many links with industry. As part of our mission to provide world-quality university education in information, we aim to inspire and help our students to pursue their highest ambitions for their academic and professional careers.