The CSISAC fosters Algorithmic Transparency and Democractic Accountability at the OECD

October 27, 2017

CSISAC Steering Committee member and President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) Marc Rotenberg attended the OECD Conference on Artificial Intelligence - "AI: Intelligent Machines, Smart Policies" (see the event agenda and speaker bios).

The conference provided a comprehensive overview of the many applications and challenges of Artificial Intelligence. Involving over 40 speakers, the conference provided a broad and informed overview of the most recent developments in this field. In addition to the CSISAC, Civil Society views have been put forward in the session on Transparency, Oversight, and Ethics by Konstantinos Karachalios (managing Director of the IEEE-Standards Association), and Johanna Bryson (Reader at University of Bath, and Affiliate, Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University). The CSISAC thanks the OECD for having included civil society views in the conference, and will continue offering advice and support to improve civil society participation with an emphasis on Security and Privacy.

The CSISAC was invited to take part in the final wrap-up session, together with the representatives of the TUAC, BIAC and ITAC Advisory Committees. In this session, CSISAC Steering Committee member Marc remarked the need to focus on impact on the public and the institutions, as AI-derived effects could lead to a non-sustainable path leaded by increased polarization and inequality. As a way to tackle this challenge, the CSISAC promoted algorithmic transparency as a way to ensure democractic accountability" for Artificial Intelligence. The CSISAC urged action by the OECD to develop a comprehensive policy framework for Artificial Intelligence, similar to the OECD Privacy Guidelines, noting the acceleration of deployment in the field, the earlier OECD work on Artifical Intelligence, and the multiple policy projects currently underway. The CSISAC found many of its own views reflected in the remarks of Anna Byhovskaya from TUAC (Labour Unions Avisory Committee), who remarked the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach, the need for keeping human control of AI development, the role of skills in equality for workers, and shared her concerns about market concentration, data ownership, and business models, proposing a human-centered approach. ITAC (Technical Advisory Committee) remarked that open access could be not always granted, mentioned the utility of standardization and certification for algorithms, stablishing a connection with the capacity of Intellectual Property regime to adapt, and noted the importance of ethics and embedding values in the system design. On human-centric AI, the CSISAC alligns with the remarks of Joanna Bryson about not competing with machines, but to extend ethics to data system similarly as humans did with the environment, towards building safe systems.

The CSISAC acknowledges the summary of OECD Deputy Secretary General Douglas Frantz, who remarked the "consensus on the need for a broad base conversation with many stakeholders" on the future and implementation of AI. The CSISAC acknowledges the contribution of the Chair in identifying the OECD as the right forum for development of policy framework, and agrees in remarking the urgency to deploy this important work.

The CSISAC will continue engaging in the work of the OECD in Artificial Intelligence, and strongly encourages civil society participants to take part in the preparation of the forthcoming meeetings of the OECD Committee on the Digital Economy (CDEP).