VII. Accountability

Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure responsibility and accountability for AI systems and their outcomes, both before and after their implementation. Auditability of AI systems is key in this regard, as the assessment of AI systems by internal and external auditors, and the availability of such evaluation reports, strongly contributes to the trustworthiness of the technology. External auditability should especially be ensured in applications affecting fundamental rights, including safety critical applications. Potential negative impacts of AI systems should be identified, assessed, documented and minimised. The use of impact assessments facilitates this process. These assessments should be proportionate to the extent of the risks that the AI systems pose. Trade offs between the requirements – which are often unavoidable – should be addressed in a rational and methodological manner, and should be accounted for. Finally, when unjust adverse impact occurs, accessible mechanisms should be foreseen that ensure adequate redress.
Principle: Key requirements for trustworthy AI, Apr 8, 2019

Published by European Commission

Related Principles


Those responsible for the different phases of the AI system lifecycle should be identifiable and accountable for the outcomes of the AI systems, and human oversight of AI systems should be enabled. This principle aims to acknowledge the relevant organisations' and individuals’ responsibility for the outcomes of the AI systems that they design, develop, deploy and operate. The application of legal principles regarding accountability for AI systems is still developing. Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure responsibility and accountability for AI systems and their outcomes. This includes both before and after their design, development, deployment and operation. The organisation and individual accountable for the decision should be identifiable as necessary. They must consider the appropriate level of human control or oversight for the particular AI system or use case. AI systems that have a significant impact on an individual's rights should be accountable to external review, this includes providing timely, accurate, and complete information for the purposes of independent oversight bodies.

Published by Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Australian Government in AI Ethics Principles, Nov 7, 2019

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.

Published by European Commission in Key requirements for trustworthy AI, Apr 8, 2019

· Transparency and explainability

37. The transparency and explainability of AI systems are often essential preconditions to ensure the respect, protection and promotion of human rights, fundamental freedoms and ethical principles. Transparency is necessary for relevant national and international liability regimes to work effectively. A lack of transparency could also undermine the possibility of effectively challenging decisions based on outcomes produced by AI systems and may thereby infringe the right to a fair trial and effective remedy, and limits the areas in which these systems can be legally used. 38. While efforts need to be made to increase transparency and explainability of AI systems, including those with extra territorial impact, throughout their life cycle to support democratic governance, the level of transparency and explainability should always be appropriate to the context and impact, as there may be a need to balance between transparency and explainability and other principles such as privacy, safety and security. People should be fully informed when a decision is informed by or is made on the basis of AI algorithms, including when it affects their safety or human rights, and in those circumstances should have the opportunity to request explanatory information from the relevant AI actor or public sector institutions. In addition, individuals should be able to access the reasons for a decision affecting their rights and freedoms, and have the option of making submissions to a designated staff member of the private sector company or public sector institution able to review and correct the decision. AI actors should inform users when a product or service is provided directly or with the assistance of AI systems in a proper and timely manner. 39. From a socio technical lens, greater transparency contributes to more peaceful, just, democratic and inclusive societies. It allows for public scrutiny that can decrease corruption and discrimination, and can also help detect and prevent negative impacts on human rights. Transparency aims at providing appropriate information to the respective addressees to enable their understanding and foster trust. Specific to the AI system, transparency can enable people to understand how each stage of an AI system is put in place, appropriate to the context and sensitivity of the AI system. It may also include insight into factors that affect a specific prediction or decision, and whether or not appropriate assurances (such as safety or fairness measures) are in place. In cases of serious threats of adverse human rights impacts, transparency may also require the sharing of code or datasets. 40. Explainability refers to making intelligible and providing insight into the outcome of AI systems. The explainability of AI systems also refers to the understandability of the input, output and the functioning of each algorithmic building block and how it contributes to the outcome of the systems. Thus, explainability is closely related to transparency, as outcomes and ub processes leading to outcomes should aim to be understandable and traceable, appropriate to the context. AI actors should commit to ensuring that the algorithms developed are explainable. In the case of AI applications that impact the end user in a way that is not temporary, easily reversible or otherwise low risk, it should be ensured that the meaningful explanation is provided with any decision that resulted in the action taken in order for the outcome to be considered transparent. 41. Transparency and explainability relate closely to adequate responsibility and accountability measures, as well as to the trustworthiness of AI systems.

Published by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in The Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, Nov 24, 2021

3 Ensure transparency, explainability and intelligibility

AI should be intelligible or understandable to developers, users and regulators. Two broad approaches to ensuring intelligibility are improving the transparency and explainability of AI technology. Transparency requires that sufficient information (described below) be published or documented before the design and deployment of an AI technology. Such information should facilitate meaningful public consultation and debate on how the AI technology is designed and how it should be used. Such information should continue to be published and documented regularly and in a timely manner after an AI technology is approved for use. Transparency will improve system quality and protect patient and public health safety. For instance, system evaluators require transparency in order to identify errors, and government regulators rely on transparency to conduct proper, effective oversight. It must be possible to audit an AI technology, including if something goes wrong. Transparency should include accurate information about the assumptions and limitations of the technology, operating protocols, the properties of the data (including methods of data collection, processing and labelling) and development of the algorithmic model. AI technologies should be explainable to the extent possible and according to the capacity of those to whom the explanation is directed. Data protection laws already create specific obligations of explainability for automated decision making. Those who might request or require an explanation should be well informed, and the educational information must be tailored to each population, including, for example, marginalized populations. Many AI technologies are complex, and the complexity might frustrate both the explainer and the person receiving the explanation. There is a possible trade off between full explainability of an algorithm (at the cost of accuracy) and improved accuracy (at the cost of explainability). All algorithms should be tested rigorously in the settings in which the technology will be used in order to ensure that it meets standards of safety and efficacy. The examination and validation should include the assumptions, operational protocols, data properties and output decisions of the AI technology. Tests and evaluations should be regular, transparent and of sufficient breadth to cover differences in the performance of the algorithm according to race, ethnicity, gender, age and other relevant human characteristics. There should be robust, independent oversight of such tests and evaluation to ensure that they are conducted safely and effectively. Health care institutions, health systems and public health agencies should regularly publish information about how decisions have been made for adoption of an AI technology and how the technology will be evaluated periodically, its uses, its known limitations and the role of decision making, which can facilitate external auditing and oversight.

Published by World Health Organization (WHO) in Key ethical principles for use of artificial intelligence for health, Jun 28, 2021

4 Foster responsibility and accountability

Humans require clear, transparent specification of the tasks that systems can perform and the conditions under which they can achieve the desired level of performance; this helps to ensure that health care providers can use an AI technology responsibly. Although AI technologies perform specific tasks, it is the responsibility of human stakeholders to ensure that they can perform those tasks and that they are used under appropriate conditions. Responsibility can be assured by application of “human warranty”, which implies evaluation by patients and clinicians in the development and deployment of AI technologies. In human warranty, regulatory principles are applied upstream and downstream of the algorithm by establishing points of human supervision. The critical points of supervision are identified by discussions among professionals, patients and designers. The goal is to ensure that the algorithm remains on a machine learning development path that is medically effective, can be interrogated and is ethically responsible; it involves active partnership with patients and the public, such as meaningful public consultation and debate (101). Ultimately, such work should be validated by regulatory agencies or other supervisory authorities. When something does go wrong in application of an AI technology, there should be accountability. Appropriate mechanisms should be adopted to ensure questioning by and redress for individuals and groups adversely affected by algorithmically informed decisions. This should include access to prompt, effective remedies and redress from governments and companies that deploy AI technologies for health care. Redress should include compensation, rehabilitation, restitution, sanctions where necessary and a guarantee of non repetition. The use of AI technologies in medicine requires attribution of responsibility within complex systems in which responsibility is distributed among numerous agents. When medical decisions by AI technologies harm individuals, responsibility and accountability processes should clearly identify the relative roles of manufacturers and clinical users in the harm. This is an evolving challenge and remains unsettled in the laws of most countries. Institutions have not only legal liability but also a duty to assume responsibility for decisions made by the algorithms they use, even if it is not feasible to explain in detail how the algorithms produce their results. To avoid diffusion of responsibility, in which “everybody’s problem becomes nobody’s responsibility”, a faultless responsibility model (“collective responsibility”), in which all the agents involved in the development and deployment of an AI technology are held responsible, can encourage all actors to act with integrity and minimize harm. In such a model, the actual intentions of each agent (or actor) or their ability to control an outcome are not considered.

Published by World Health Organization (WHO) in Key ethical principles for use of artificial intelligence for health, Jun 28, 2021