As AI increasingly changes the nature of work, workers, customers and vendors need to have information about how AI systems operate so that they can understand how decisions are made. Their involvement will help to identify potential bias, errors and unintended outcomes. Transparency is not necessarily nor only a question of open source code. While in some circumstances open source code will be helpful, what is more important are clear, complete and testable explanations of what the system is doing and why. Intellectual property, and sometimes even cyber security, is rewarded by a lack of transparency. Innovation generally, including in algorithms, is a value that should be encouraged. How, then, are these competing values to be balanced? One possibility is to require algorithmic verifiability rather than full algorithmic disclosure. Algorithmic verifiability would require companies to disclose not the actual code driving the algorithm but information allowing the effect of their algorithms to be independently assessed. In the absence of transparency regarding their algorithms’ purpose and actual effect, it is impossible to ensure that competition, labour, workplace safety, privacy and liability laws are being upheld. When accidents occur, the AI and related data will need to be transparent and accountable to an accident investigator, so that the process that led to the accident can be understood.
I. Human agency and oversight
AI systems should support individuals in making better, more informed choices in accordance with their goals. They should act as enablers to a flourishing and equitable society by supporting human agency and fundamental rights, and not decrease, limit or misguide human autonomy. The overall wellbeing of the user should be central to the system's functionality.
Human oversight helps ensuring that an AI system does not undermine human autonomy or causes other adverse effects. Depending on the specific AI based system and its application area, the appropriate degrees of control measures, including the adaptability, accuracy and explainability of AI based systems, should be ensured. Oversight may be achieved through governance mechanisms such as ensuring a human in the loop, human on the loop, or human in command approach. It must be ensured that public authorities have the ability to exercise their oversight powers in line with their mandates. All other things being equal, the less oversight a human can exercise over an AI system, the more extensive testing and stricter governance is required.
The traceability of AI systems should be ensured; it is important to log and document both the decisions made by the systems, as well as the entire process (including a description of data gathering and labelling, and a description of the algorithm used) that yielded the decisions. Linked to this, explainability of the algorithmic decision making process, adapted to the persons involved, should be provided to the extent possible. Ongoing research to develop explainability mechanisms should be pursued. In addition, explanations of the degree to which an AI system influences and shapes the organisational decision making process, design choices of the system, as well as the rationale for deploying it, should be available (hence ensuring not just data and system transparency, but also business model transparency).
Finally, it is important to adequately communicate the AI system’s capabilities and limitations to the different stakeholders involved in a manner appropriate to the use case at hand. Moreover, AI systems should be identifiable as such, ensuring that users know they are interacting with an AI system and which persons are responsible for it.
Published by: The European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence in Draft Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI
Trustworthy AI requires that algorithms are secure, reliable as well as robust enough to deal with errors or inconsistencies during the design, development, execution, deployment and use phase of the AI system, and to adequately cope with erroneous outcomes.
Reliability & Reproducibility. Trustworthiness requires that the accuracy of results can be confirmed and reproduced by independent evaluation. However, the complexity, non determinism and opacity of many AI systems, together with sensitivity to training model building conditions, can make it difficult to reproduce results. Currently there is an increased awareness within the AI research community that reproducibility is a critical requirement in the field. Reproducibility is essential to guarantee that results are consistent across different situations, computational frameworks and input data. The lack of reproducibility can lead to unintended discrimination in AI decisions.
Accuracy. Accuracy pertains to an AI’s confidence and ability to correctly classify information into the correct categories, or its ability to make correct predictions, recommendations, or decisions based on data or models. An explicit and well formed development and evaluation process can support, mitigate and correct unintended risks.
Resilience to Attack. AI systems, like all software systems, can include vulnerabilities that can allow them to be exploited by adversaries. Hacking is an important case of intentional harm, by which the system will purposefully follow a different course of action than its original purpose. If an AI system is attacked, the data as well as system behaviour can be changed, leading the system to make different decisions, or causing the system to shut down altogether. Systems and or data can also become corrupted, by malicious intention or by exposure to unexpected situations. Poor governance, by which it becomes possible to intentionally or unintentionally tamper with the data, or grant access to the algorithms to unauthorised entities, can also result in discrimination, erroneous decisions, or even physical harm.
Fall back plan. A secure AI has safeguards that enable a fall back plan in case of problems with the AI system. In some cases this can mean that the AI system switches from statistical to rule based procedure, in other cases it means that the system asks for a human operator before continuing the action.
1. Demand That AI Systems Are Transparent
A transparent artificial intelligence system is one in which it is possible to discover how, and why, the system made a decision, or in the case of a robot, acted the way it did.
A. We stress that open source code is neither necessary nor sufficient for transparency – clarity cannot be obfuscated by complexity.
B. For users, transparency is important because it builds trust in, and understanding of, the system, by providing a simple way for the user to understand what the system is doing and why.
C. For validation and certification of an AI system, transparency is important because it exposes the system’s processes for scrutiny.
D. If accidents occur, the AI will need to be transparent and accountable to an accident investigator, so the internal process that led to the accident can be understood.
E. Workers must have the right to demand transparency in the decisions and outcomes of AI systems as well as the underlying algorithms (see principle 4 below). This includes the right to appeal decisions made by AI algorithms, and having it reviewed by a human being.
F. Workers must be consulted on AI systems’ implementation, development and deployment.
G. Following an accident, judges, juries, lawyers, and expert witnesses involved in the trial process require transparency and accountability to inform evidence and decision making.
The principle of transparency is a prerequisite for ascertaining that the remaining principles are observed.
See Principle 2 below for operational solution.