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The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI), a panel that advises the UK government on artificial intelligence and data-driven technology, has said public bodies should be required to publish information on how the decision to use an algorithm was made, the type of algorithm used, how it was used, and the steps taken to ensure fair treatment. There should be a “mandatory transparency obligation” for UK public sector organizations that use algorithms to make decisions affecting people’s lives, advised an independent review. Transparency is needed to “build and maintain public trust.” In the UK, it proved difficult to find out what algorithmic systems the public sector was using and where, making it impossible to get a true sense of the scale of adoption of the technology or to understand the potential harms, risks and opportunities, the CDEI noted.

The issue has “exploded into mainstream attention in the context of exam results.” Which refers to the controversy that arose this summer in England following the use of an algorithm to moderate A-Level exam results. Nearly 40% of teacher-assessed grades were downgraded, and the government was forced to overturn the results. Read more on Global Government Forum.

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