Evaluating the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of NLP Technology: A Case Study for Indian Languages


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In order for NLP technology to be widely applicable, fair, and useful, it needs to serve a diverse set of speakers across the world's languages, be equitable, i.e., not unduly biased towards any particular language, and be inclusive of all users, particularly in low-resource settings where compute constraints are common. In this paper, we propose an evaluation paradigm that assesses NLP technologies across all three dimensions. While diversity and inclusion have received attention in recent literature, equity is currently unexplored. We propose to address this gap using the Gini coefficient, a well-established metric used for estimating societal wealth inequality. Using our paradigm, we highlight the distressed state of current technologies for Indian (IN) languages (a linguistically large and diverse set, with a varied speaker population), across all three dimensions. To improve upon these metrics, we demonstrate the importance of region-specific choices in model building and dataset creation, and more importantly, propose a novel, generalisable approach to optimal resource allocation during fine-tuning. Finally, we discuss steps to mitigate these biases and encourage the community to employ multi-faceted evaluation when building linguistically diverse and equitable technologies.
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