5. Knowledge

[QUESTIONS] Does the development of AI put critical thinking at risk? How do we minimize the dissemination of fake news or misleading information? Should research results on AI, whether positive or negative, be made available and accessible? Is it acceptable not to be informed that medical or legal advice has been given by a chatbot? How transparent should the internal decision making processes of algorithms be? [PRINCIPLES] ​The development of AI should promote critical thinking and protect us from propaganda and manipulation.
Principle: The Montreal Declaration for a Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence, Nov 3, 2017

Published by University of Montreal, Forum on the Socially Responsible Development of AI

Related Principles

· Transparency

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.

Published by Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Canada in Toward a G20 Framework for Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace, Jul 19, 2018


Automated decision making algorithms are now used throughout industry and government, underpinning many processes from dynamic pricing to employment practices to criminal sentencing. Given that such algorithmically informed decisions have the potential for significant societal impact, the goal of this document is to help developers and product managers design and implement algorithmic systems in publicly accountable ways. Accountability in this context includes an obligation to report, explain, or justify algorithmic decision making as well as mitigate any negative social impacts or potential harms. We begin by outlining five equally important guiding principles that follow from this premise: Algorithms and the data that drive them are designed and created by people There is always a human ultimately responsible for decisions made or informed by an algorithm. "The algorithm did it" is not an acceptable excuse if algorithmic systems make mistakes or have undesired consequences, including from machine learning processes.

Published by Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency in Machine Learning (FAT/ML) in Principles for Accountable Algorithms, Jul 22, 2016 (unconfirmed)

Public Empowerment

Principle: The public’s ability to understand AI enabled services, and how they work, is key to ensuring trust in the technology. Recommendations: “Algorithmic Literacy” must be a basic skill: Whether it is the curating of information in social media platforms or self driving cars, users need to be aware and have a basic understanding of the role of algorithms and autonomous decision making. Such skills will also be important in shaping societal norms around the use of the technology. For example, identifying decisions that may not be suitable to delegate to an AI. Provide the public with information: While full transparency around a service’s machine learning techniques and training data is generally not advisable due to the security risk, the public should be provided with enough information to make it possible for people to question its outcomes.

Published by Internet Society, "Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Policy Paper" in Guiding Principles and Recommendations, Apr 18, 2017

Responsible Deployment

Principle: The capacity of an AI agent to act autonomously, and to adapt its behavior over time without human direction, calls for significant safety checks before deployment, and ongoing monitoring. Recommendations: Humans must be in control: Any autonomous system must allow for a human to interrupt an activity or shutdown the system (an “off switch”). There may also be a need to incorporate human checks on new decision making strategies in AI system design, especially where the risk to human life and safety is great. Make safety a priority: Any deployment of an autonomous system should be extensively tested beforehand to ensure the AI agent’s safe interaction with its environment (digital or physical) and that it functions as intended. Autonomous systems should be monitored while in operation, and updated or corrected as needed. Privacy is key: AI systems must be data responsible. They should use only what they need and delete it when it is no longer needed (“data minimization”). They should encrypt data in transit and at rest, and restrict access to authorized persons (“access control”). AI systems should only collect, use, share and store data in accordance with privacy and personal data laws and best practices. Think before you act: Careful thought should be given to the instructions and data provided to AI systems. AI systems should not be trained with data that is biased, inaccurate, incomplete or misleading. If they are connected, they must be secured: AI systems that are connected to the Internet should be secured not only for their protection, but also to protect the Internet from malfunctioning or malware infected AI systems that could become the next generation of botnets. High standards of device, system and network security should be applied. Responsible disclosure: Security researchers acting in good faith should be able to responsibly test the security of AI systems without fear of prosecution or other legal action. At the same time, researchers and others who discover security vulnerabilities or other design flaws should responsibly disclose their findings to those who are in the best position to fix the problem.

Published by Internet Society, "Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Policy Paper" in Guiding Principles and Recommendations, Apr 18, 2017


AIS must meet intelligibility, justifiability, and accessibility criteria, and must be subjected to democratic scrutiny, debate, and control. 1) AIS processes that make decisions affecting a person’s life, quality of life, or reputation must be intelligible to their creators. 2) The decisions made by AIS affecting a person’s life, quality of life, or reputation should always be justifiable in a language that is understood by the people who use them or who are subjected to the consequences of their use. Justification consists in making transparent the most important factors and parameters shaping the decision, and should take the same form as the justification we would demand of a human making the same kind of decision. 3) The code for algorithms, whether public or private, must always be accessible to the relevant public authorities and stakeholders for verification and control purposes. 4) The discovery of AIS operating errors, unexpected or undesirable effects, security breaches, and data leaks must imperatively be reported to the relevant public authorities, stakeholders, and those affected by the situation. 5) In accordance with the transparency requirement for public decisions, the code for decision making algorithms used by public authorities must be accessible to all, with the exception of algorithms that present a high risk of serious danger if misused. 6) For public AIS that have a significant impact on the life of citizens, citizens should have the opportunity and skills to deliberate on the social parameters of these AIS, their objectives, and the limits of their use. 7) We must at all times be able to verify that AIS are doing what they were programmed for and what they are used for. 8) Any person using a service should know if a decision concerning them or affecting them was made by an AIS. 9) Any user of a service employing chatbots should be able to easily identify whether they are interacting with an AIS or a real person. 10) Artificial intelligence research should remain open and accessible to all.

Published by University of Montreal in The Montreal Declaration for a Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence, Dec 4, 2018