Pieter Delobelle


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How Far Can It Go? On Intrinsic Gender Bias Mitigation for Text Classification
Ewoenam Kwaku Tokpo | Pieter Delobelle | Bettina Berendt | Toon Calders
Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

To mitigate gender bias in contextualized language models, different intrinsic mitigation strategies have been proposed, alongside many bias metrics. Considering that the end use of these language models is for downstream tasks like text classification, it is important to understand how these intrinsic bias mitigation strategies actually translate to fairness in downstream tasks and the extent of this. In this work, we design a probe to investigate the effects that some of the major intrinsic gender bias mitigation strategies have on downstream text classification tasks. We discover that instead of resolving gender bias, intrinsic mitigation techniques and metrics are able to hide it in such a way that significant gender information is retained in the embeddings. Furthermore, we show that each mitigation technique is able to hide the bias from some of the intrinsic bias measures but not all, and each intrinsic bias measure can be fooled by some mitigation techniques, but not all. We confirm experimentally, that none of the intrinsic mitigation techniques used without any other fairness intervention is able to consistently impact extrinsic bias. We recommend that intrinsic bias mitigation techniques should be combined with other fairness interventions for downstream tasks.


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Measuring Fairness with Biased Rulers: A Comparative Study on Bias Metrics for Pre-trained Language Models
Pieter Delobelle | Ewoenam Tokpo | Toon Calders | Bettina Berendt
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

An increasing awareness of biased patterns in natural language processing resources such as BERT has motivated many metrics to quantify ‘bias’ and ‘fairness’ in these resources. However, comparing the results of different metrics and the works that evaluate with such metrics remains difficult, if not outright impossible. We survey the literature on fairness metrics for pre-trained language models and experimentally evaluate compatibility, including both biases in language models and in their downstream tasks. We do this by combining traditional literature survey, correlation analysis and empirical evaluations. We find that many metrics are not compatible with each other and highly depend on (i) templates, (ii) attribute and target seeds and (iii) the choice of embeddings. We also see no tangible evidence of intrinsic bias relating to extrinsic bias. These results indicate that fairness or bias evaluation remains challenging for contextualized language models, among other reasons because these choices remain subjective. To improve future comparisons and fairness evaluations, we recommend to avoid embedding-based metrics and focus on fairness evaluations in downstream tasks.


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RobBERT: a Dutch RoBERTa-based Language Model
Pieter Delobelle | Thomas Winters | Bettina Berendt
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Pre-trained language models have been dominating the field of natural language processing in recent years, and have led to significant performance gains for various complex natural language tasks. One of the most prominent pre-trained language models is BERT, which was released as an English as well as a multilingual version. Although multilingual BERT performs well on many tasks, recent studies show that BERT models trained on a single language significantly outperform the multilingual version. Training a Dutch BERT model thus has a lot of potential for a wide range of Dutch NLP tasks. While previous approaches have used earlier implementations of BERT to train a Dutch version of BERT, we used RoBERTa, a robustly optimized BERT approach, to train a Dutch language model called RobBERT. We measured its performance on various tasks as well as the importance of the fine-tuning dataset size. We also evaluated the importance of language-specific tokenizers and the model’s fairness. We found that RobBERT improves state-of-the-art results for various tasks, and especially significantly outperforms other models when dealing with smaller datasets. These results indicate that it is a powerful pre-trained model for a large variety of Dutch language tasks. The pre-trained and fine-tuned models are publicly available to support further downstream Dutch NLP applications.


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Computational Ad Hominem Detection
Pieter Delobelle | Murilo Cunha | Eric Massip Cano | Jeroen Peperkamp | Bettina Berendt
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Student Research Workshop

Fallacies like the personal attack—also known as the ad hominem attack—are introduced in debates as an easy win, even though they provide no rhetorical contribution. Although their importance in argumentation mining is acknowledged, automated mining and analysis is still lacking. We show TF-IDF approaches are insufficient to detect the ad hominem attack. Therefore we present a machine learning approach for information extraction, which has a recall of 80% for a social media data source. We also demonstrate our approach with an application that uses online learning.