Turing responds to Science and Technology Committee report on algorithms in decision-making

We welcome the new report, Algorithms in decision-making, from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published today. As we outlined yesterday in defining our eight research challenges to drive data science and AI research, one of these critical challenges is to ‘make algorithmic decisions fair, transparent and ethical.’ This sentiment is echoed strongly in the report findings.

The new publication identifies the themes and challenges that the newly established Centre for Data Ethics & Innovation should address, and we have been advising this new centre as it begins its programme of work.

The report calls for the Crown Commercial Service to commission a review, ‘from the Alan Turing Institute or other expert bodies, to set out a procurement model for algorithms developed with private sector partners which fully realises the value for the public sector.’ We strongly support this recommendation, as the Institute is uniquely positioned to leverage private sector innovation for public sector value. This directly aligns with our goals, challenges and programmes of research and we welcome the opportunity to feed into this work.

Our Programme Director for Artificial Intelligence, Adrian Weller, gave evidence to the committee as well as Turing Fellow Sandra Wachter, who was mentioned for her emphasis on standards as a prerequisite for developing a system of accountability, counterfactual explanations, and her advice around GDPR and automated decisions.

Read the full report: Algorithms in decision-making