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.
II. Technical robustness and safety
Trustworthy AI requires algorithms to be secure, reliable and robust enough to deal with errors or inconsistencies during all life cycle phases of the AI system, and to adequately cope with erroneous outcomes. AI systems need to be reliable, secure enough to be resilient against both overt attacks and more subtle attempts to manipulate data or algorithms themselves, and they must ensure a fall back plan in case of problems. Their decisions must be accurate, or at least correctly reflect their level of accuracy, and their outcomes should be reproducible.
In addition, AI systems should integrate safety and security by design mechanisms to ensure that they are verifiably safe at every step, taking at heart the physical and mental safety of all concerned. This includes the minimisation and where possible the reversibility of unintended consequences or errors in the system’s operation. Processes to clarify and assess potential risks associated with the use of AI systems, across various application areas, should be put in place.
III. Privacy and Data Governance
Privacy and data protection must be guaranteed at all stages of the AI system’s life cycle. Digital records of human behaviour may allow AI systems to infer not only individuals’ preferences, age and gender but also their sexual orientation, religious or political views. To allow individuals to trust the data processing, it must be ensured that they have full control over their own data, and that data concerning them will not be used to harm or discriminate against them.
In addition to safeguarding privacy and personal data, requirements must be fulfilled to ensure high quality AI systems. The quality of the data sets used is paramount to the performance of AI systems. When data is gathered, it may reflect socially constructed biases, or contain inaccuracies, errors and mistakes. This needs to be addressed prior to training an AI system with any given data set. In addition, the integrity of the data must be ensured. Processes and data sets used must be tested and documented at each step such as planning, training, testing and deployment. This should also apply to AI systems that were not developed in house but acquired elsewhere. Finally, the access to data must be adequately governed and controlled.
Published by: The European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence in Draft Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI
Safety is about ensuring that the system will indeed do what it is supposed to do, without harming users (human physical integrity), resources or the environment. It includes minimizing unintended consequences and errors in the operation of the system. Processes to clarify and assess potential risks associated with the use of AI products and services should be put in place. Moreover, formal mechanisms are needed to measure and guide the adaptability of AI systems.
3. New technology, including AI systems, must be transparent and explainable
For the public to trust AI, it must be transparent. Technology companies must be clear about who trains their AI systems, what data was used in that training and, most importantly, what went into their algorithm’s recommendations. If we are to use AI to help make important decisions, it must be explainable.