Human vs. algorithmic bias – is unbiased decision-making even a thing? – WS 07 2021

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29 June 2021 | 16:30-17:30 CEST | Studio Belgrade | Video recording | Live transcription
Consolidated programme 2021 overview / Day 1

Proposals: #2

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Session teaser

Public policy in many countries favours the development and application of machine learning and other technologies broadly designated as “artificial intelligence” – with a view of boosting economy, streamlining the processes in the public sector and improving the peoples’ quality of life. To that end, human decision-making is replaced or supplemented by automation, and automated decision-making already affects millions of people in Europe and around the world.

The long-term result, however, might be a net harm, if automated systems merely reproduce the flaws of human decision-making due to inappropriate bias in the systems’ input data and generate new bias because deep learning even creates bias with perfect data

But if to err is human, is it even feasible to avoid bias altogether – either in human or automated decision-making?

And provided that the bias problem can be managed, are there any other substantial problems with using AI for taking significant decisions?

The goal of this workshop is to inform the discussion on AI policy and regulation in Europe and to further the understanding of these problems by the public at large.

Session description

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  • Elena Dodonova, Council of Europe
  • Yannick Meneceur, Council of Europe

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Subject Matter Expert (SME)

  • Jörn Erbguth

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  • André Melancia
  • Desara Dushi, Vrije University Brussels
  • Amali De Silva-Mitchell, Dynamic Coalition on Data Driven Health Technologies / Futurist
  • Yannick Meneceur, Council of Europe

Proposed Key Participants

  • Karthikeyan Natesan Ramamurthy, Research Staff Member, IBM Research AI
  • Ekaterina Muravleva, Senior Research Scientist at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology
  • Zoltán Turbék, Vice-chair of the CAHAI Policy Development Group, Council of Europe
  • Daniel Leufer, Europe Policy Analyst, Access Now
  • Hiromi Arai, Head of AI Safety and Reliability Unit, RIKEN Center for Advanced Intelligence Project

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  • Aleksandr Tiulkanov, Special advisor to the Digital Development Unit, Council of Europe

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  • Algorithmic bias is a particular concern regarding sensitive decisions with human rights implications. Ultimately, the outcomes of machine learning should be seen as only one input into decisions eventually taken by humans.
  • A broad understanding of bias is warranted to address discrimination and harm. Bias can materialise at all steps of developing and using a particular AI system. This includes decisions about the algorithms, data, and the context in which the system is used. There are also mechanisms to make humans and machines work together better for better decisions.
  • Policies need to mitigate risks of algorithmic decision-making. Constraints, safety mechanisms, audit mechanisms, and algorithmic recourse all need to be in place. In addition, it is crucial, as a first step, to work towards greater transparency and explainability of AI systems involved in decision-making. Databases that list the AI systems and data in use should be considered, as well as bans on the use of certain AI systems with high risk and high harm.
  • A number of technological companies have self-regulation mechanisms in place at various levels. Self-regulation of the private sector is important but ultimately not enough. Various regulatory efforts need to complement each other and greater cooperation between various stakeholders is needed to create synergies.
  • Equality and fairness are values that have a strong cultural connotation. They are important principles to address bias, yet it is not easy to find an intercultural agreement on some aspects of these principles. Addressing algorithmic bias also needs to include discussion on what kind of society we want to live in in the future.

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Video record


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