Q-Pain: A Question Answering Dataset to Measure Social Bias in Pain Management

Part of Proceedings of the Neural Information Processing Systems Track on Datasets and Benchmarks 1 (NeurIPS Datasets and Benchmarks 2021)

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Cécile Logé, Emily Ross, David Dadey, Saahil Jain, Adriel Saporta, Andrew Ng, Pranav Rajpurkar, Pranav Rajpurkar


Recent advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP), and specifically automated Question Answering (QA) systems, have demonstrated both impressive linguistic fluency and a pernicious tendency to reflect social biases. In this study, we introduce Q-Pain, a dataset for assessing bias in medical QA in the context of pain management, one of the most challenging forms of clinical decision-making. Along with the dataset, we propose a new, rigorous framework, including a sample experimental design, to measure the potential biases present when making treatment decisions. We demonstrate its use by assessing two reference Question-Answering systems, GPT-2 and GPT-3, and find statistically significant differences in treatment between intersectional race-gender subgroups, thus reaffirming the risks posed by AI in medical settings, and the need for datasets like ours to ensure safety before medical AI applications are deployed.