Dutch govt draws up guidance in use of algorithms for AI, machine learning

Thursday 10 October 2019 | 14:11 CET | News

The Dutch government has drawn up some guidelines for the use of algorithms in the field of AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning and deep learning. The aim is to make the application of algorithms transparent and testable, Minister of Legal Protection Sander Dekker said.

According to Dekker, data analyses using smart algorithms can carry risks; government and people must be aware of these risks.For example, transparency about the purposes of use may be insufficient; source data may contain errors and the increasing complexity makes algorithms increasingly difficult to understand. The previous government therefore asked to know if safeguards against these risks could be strengthened.

Seven guidelines

Seven guidelines have now been formulated to guarantee "transparency, verifiability and legal protection." Ultimately, the government wants to work towards guarantees that are translated into legislation.

  • Technical transparency and clarity: the source code and input must be available and the results must be explained; 
  • the government must be able to explain the consequences; 
  • strict methods must be used and tests must be done for validation; 
  • all parties involved must be aware of the risks, such as discriminatory factors in the design; 
  • the choices for data and parameters must be described; 
  • models, data, algorithms, and decisions "with specific consequences for individual citizens" must be recorded so that they are verifiable; 
  • and methods must be able to be (legally) tested.

According to Dekker, governments are also responsible for decisions made by their used algorithms, "even if they are made by third parties, even if they cannot be explained in detail. They must therefore be able to account for that.

The Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) noted that the guidelines will also be tailored to municipalities. "The feasibility of the guidelines will be examined and an impact analysis for municipalities will be conducted under the auspices of the VNG," the association said.

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Categories: IT
Countries: Netherlands
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