Ensuring Accountability

Principle: Legal accountability has to be ensured when human agency is replaced by decisions of AI agents. Recommendations: Ensure legal certainty: Governments should ensure legal certainty on how existing laws and policies apply to algorithmic decision making and the use of autonomous systems to ensure a predictable legal environment. This includes working with experts from all disciplines to identify potential gaps and run legal scenarios. Similarly, those designing and using AI should be in compliance with existing legal frameworks. Put users first: Policymakers need to ensure that any laws applicable to AI systems and their use put users’ interests at the center. This must include the ability for users to challenge autonomous decisions that adversely affect their interests. Assign liability up front: Governments working with all stakeholders need to make some difficult decisions now about who will be liable in the event that something goes wrong with an AI system, and how any harm suffered will be remedied.
Principle: Guiding Principles and Recommendations, Apr 18, 2017

Published by Internet Society, "Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Policy Paper"

Related Principles

Ensure “Interpretability” of AI systems

Principle: Decisions made by an AI agent should be possible to understand, especially if those decisions have implications for public safety, or result in discriminatory practices. Recommendations: Ensure Human Interpretability of Algorithmic Decisions: AI systems must be designed with the minimum requirement that the designer can account for an AI agent’s behaviors. Some systems with potentially severe implications for public safety should also have the functionality to provide information in the event of an accident. Empower Users: Providers of services that utilize AI need to incorporate the ability for the user to request and receive basic explanations as to why a decision was made.

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

· 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

1 Protect autonomy

Adoption of AI can lead to situations in which decision making could be or is in fact transferred to machines. The principle of autonomy requires that any extension of machine autonomy not undermine human autonomy. In the context of health care, this means that humans should remain in full control of health care systems and medical decisions. AI systems should be designed demonstrably and systematically to conform to the principles and human rights with which they cohere; more specifically, they should be designed to assist humans, whether they be medical providers or patients, in making informed decisions. Human oversight may depend on the risks associated with an AI system but should always be meaningful and should thus include effective, transparent monitoring of human values and moral considerations. In practice, this could include deciding whether to use an AI system for a particular health care decision, to vary the level of human discretion and decision making and to develop AI technologies that can rank decisions when appropriate (as opposed to a single decision). These practicescan ensure a clinician can override decisions made by AI systems and that machine autonomy can be restricted and made “intrinsically reversible”. Respect for autonomy also entails the related duties to protect privacy and confidentiality and to ensure informed, valid consent by adopting appropriate legal frameworks for data protection. These should be fully supported and enforced by governments and respected by companies and their system designers, programmers, database creators and others. AI technologies should not be used for experimentation or manipulation of humans in a health care system without valid informed consent. The use of machine learning algorithms in diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plans should be incorporated into the process for informed and valid consent. Essential services should not be circumscribed or denied if an individual withholds consent and that additional incentives or inducements should not be offered by either a government or private parties to individuals who do provide consent. Data protection laws are one means of safeguarding individual rights and place obligations on data controllers and data processors. Such laws are necessary to protect privacy and the confidentiality of patient data and to establish patients’ control over their data. Construed broadly, data protection laws should also make it easy for people to access their own health data and to move or share those data as they like. Because machine learning requires large amounts of data – big data – these laws are increasingly important.

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