Amazon SageMaker Clarify: Machine learning bias detection and explainability in the cloud
Understanding the predictions made by machine learning (ML) models and their potential biases remains a challenging and labor-intensive task that depends on the application, the dataset, and the specific model. We present Amazon SageMaker Clarify, an explainability feature for Amazon SageMaker that launched in December 2020, providing insights into data and ML models by identifying biases and explaining predictions. It is deeply integrated into Amazon SageMaker, a fully managed service that enables data scientists and developers to build, train, and deploy ML models at any scale. Clarify supports bias detection and feature importance computation across the ML lifecycle, during data preparation, model evaluation, and post-deployment monitoring. We outline the desiderata derived from customer input, the modular architecture, and the methodology for bias and explanation computations. Further, we describe the technical challenges encountered and the tradeoffs we had to make. For illustration, we discuss two customer use cases. We present our deployment results including qualitative customer feedback and a quantitative evaluation. Finally, we summarize lessons learned, and discuss best practices for the successful adoption of fairness and explanation tools in practice.