Decision-Making under Miscalibration [article]

Guy N. Rothblum, Gal Yona
2022 arXiv   pre-print
ML-based predictions are used to inform consequential decisions about individuals. How should we use predictions (e.g., risk of heart attack) to inform downstream binary classification decisions (e.g., undergoing a medical procedure)? When the risk estimates are perfectly calibrated, the answer is well understood: a classification problem's cost structure induces an optimal treatment threshold j^⋆. In practice, however, some amount of miscalibration is unavoidable, raising a fundamental
more » ... : how should one use potentially miscalibrated predictions to inform binary decisions? We formalize a natural (distribution-free) solution concept: given anticipated miscalibration of α, we propose using the threshold j that minimizes the worst-case regret over all α-miscalibrated predictors, where the regret is the difference in clinical utility between using the threshold in question and using the optimal threshold in hindsight. We provide closed form expressions for j when miscalibration is measured using both expected and maximum calibration error, which reveal that it indeed differs from j^⋆ (the optimal threshold under perfect calibration). We validate our theoretical findings on real data, demonstrating that there are natural cases in which making decisions using j improves the clinical utility.
arXiv:2203.09852v1 fatcat:y7oj4gvwxncw5cwutekbvrpyim