Report: Algorithmic systems in the coronavirus pandemic
Technologies such as contact-tracing apps and facial recognition software are raising hopes for improved containment of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, several algorithmic decision-making systems (ADM) have been rapidly implemented throughout Europe. In this special issue of the Automating Society Report, the Bertelsmann Stiftung and AlgorithmWatch provide an overview of European ADM systems designed to combat the pandemic as well as a classification of the various digital tools in use and the consequences they have for society.
EU-Consultation Input: The Urgent Need for Robust Trust: Cultivating an environment in which algorithmic decision-making serves society
We welcome the European Commission’s effort to harmonize AI regulation and create an ecosystem in which algorithmic decision-making systems work for people and become a force for good in society. In this paper we want to share our findings from the “Ethics of Algorithms project” as part of the consultation on the “White Paper on Artificial Intelligence – A European approach to excellence and trust.”
Expert opinion paper: Improved governance of digitalization – what might it look like?
What do Dieselgate and forums that self-organize the internet have in common? And what can we learn from both in terms of shaping digital transformation for the good of society? In the expert opinion paper published today by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, Dr. Carolina Ferro and Dr. Ben Wagner present their research on four case studies and proposal for an improved framework of governance for digitalization at the European level.
Algo.Rules : From principles to practice: How can we make AI ethics measurable?
Discussions about the societal consequences of algorithmic decision-making systems are omnipresent. A growing number of guidelines for the ethical development of so-called artificial intelligence (AI) have been put forward by stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, and the scientific and policymaking spheres. The Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Algo.Rules are among this body of proposals. However, it remains unclear how organizations that develop and deploy AI systems should implement precepts of this kind. In cooperation with the nonprofit VDE standards-setting organization, we are seeking to bridge this gap with a new working paper that demonstrates how AI ethicsprinciples can be put into practice.
Book: We Humans and the Intelligent Machines
The use of algorithms has long since ceased to be science fiction and has become reality. We must therefore re-evaluate the relationship between humans and machines. How does artificial intelligence affect us and our society? Where can algorithms enrich us, where must we put an end to their threatening omnipotence? A new book seeks answers to the most pressing questions.
Eupinions: Knowledge of Algorithms Limited among Europeans
Many citizens across the European Union lack a basic understanding of algorithms. As part of a cross-national representative survey conducted in Europe, we have examined what Europeans know about algorithms, what they think of them, and what they hope algorithms can achieve.
Report: When Machines Decide – Are EU countries prepared?
Systems for automated decision-making are already widely used around Europe. But how algorithms are used and controlled differs widely. In our "Automating Society – Taking Stock of Automated Decision-Making in the EU", AlgorithmWatch and we for the first time assess a wide variety of uses, point to regulatory gaps and suggest better European coordination on the issue.
Study: Monitoring algorithmic systems will need more than the EU’s GDPR
Algorithmic systems evaluate people – which poses risks – for us as individuals, for groups and for society as a whole. It is therefore important that algorithmic processes be auditable. Can the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) help foster this kind of oversight and protect us from the risks inherent to algorithmic decision-making? Answers to these questions and more are provided by Wolfgang Schulz and Stephan Dreyer in an analysis commissioned by the Bertelsmann Stiftung.
Working paper: An Ethics for Algorithmists – Lessons Learned from Effective Professional Ethics
Transparency, fairness and sustainability – these are just a few of the items being called for – also by us – in the creation and use of algorithms.
Those who commission, design and use algorithmic systems – algorithmists – have a responsibility to meet these demands. But what might compel them to fulfill their responsibility? We believe that binding professional ethics can prove effective in this regard. In our new discussion paper, we take a closer look at the prospects for establishing such ethics. The authors identify ten factors contributing to the success of binding professional ethics in different vocational areas and offer recommendations for applying these practices to the field of algorithm design.
Working Paper: Quality Criteria for Algorithms - Lessons from Existing Compendia
What operations should algorithms be allowed to perform? What standards of quality should they be held to? For what purposes may they be used? Although they are deeply relevant for society, we have yet to reach a social consensus on these issues. A number of international organizations seek to answer these questions by formulating quality criteria that ensure the use and development of algorithmic processes are held to high ethical standards. In our working paper “Quality Criteria for Algorithmic Processes,” we take a closer look at three existing proposals and analyze their strengths and weaknesses.
Working Paper: What strategies are needed to ensure machines serve humankind?
Impact assessments, seals of quality for the origin and quality of data, creating class-action rights for federal anti-discrimination agencies, establishing an agency with algorithmic oversight – there are several ways to go about making sure that algorithmic systems are used for the well-being of everyone in society. The working paper “Machines in the Service of Humankind” presents and outlines the range of strategies that have been discussed to date among scientists, economists, civil society actors and policymakers.
Working paper: When machines judge people
Predictive policing, credit assessments, job recruitment – algorithmic systems are impacting many areas of life today. If machine-based decisions are to serve people and their needs, society must shape how those decisions are made, for example by establishing criteria that ensure algorithmic predictions are truly beneficial. For this to be the case, predictions must be applied in an objective manner and must be refutable, and it must be possible for them to be independently verified.
Working paper: How algorithms can promote participation
Algorithms influence our lives not only on Facebook, but in many other areas of life as well. Algorithmic decision-making (ADM) processes are used, for example, to observe and evaluate how often break-ins occur in certain neighborhoods so the police can deploy their resources accordingly. Insurance companies also use them to monitor how automobiles are driven. We have therefore developed a method which can be used to evaluate ADM processes to see to what degree they can affect social participation.
Working paper: How algorithmic processes impact social discourse
More than 57 percent of Internet users in Germany use search engines and social networks among other media to keep up with current events. In the United States, 44 percent of adults regularly use Facebook as a news source. The public sphere as we know it is thus being redefined – now that algorithmic processes and psychological factors are playing a role in what we consider news and how we engage with it. A new working paper examines what we know about this transformation – and how it can be used to increase social participation.