Yesterday’s (Feb. 28, 2017) posting about the newly launched Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative grew too big to include interesting tidbits such as this one from Sense about Science, (from a Feb. 28, 2017 announcement received via email),
The House of Commons science and technology select committee announced
today that it will launch an inquiry into the use of algorithms in
Our campaigns and policy officer Dr Stephanie Mathisen brought this
important and under-scrutinised issue to the committee as part of their
#MyScienceInquiry initiative; so fantastic news that they are taking up
A Feb. 28, 2017 UK House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee press release gives more details about the inquiry,
The Science and Technology Committee is launching a new inquiry into the use of algorithms in public and business decision making.
In an increasingly digital world, algorithms are being used to make decisions in a growing range of contexts. From decisions about offering mortgages and credit cards to sifting job applications and sentencing criminals, the impact of algorithms is far reaching.
How an algorithm is formulated, its scope for error or correction, the impact it may have on an individual—and their ability to understand or challenge that decision—are increasingly relevant questions.
This topic was pitched to the Committee by Dr Stephanie Mathisen (Sense about Science) through the Committee’s ‘My Science Inquiry’ open call for inquiry suggestions, and has been chosen as the first subject for the Committee’s attention following that process. It follows the Committee’s recent work on Robotics and AI, and its call for a standing Commission on Artificial Intelligence.
Submit written evidence
The Committee would welcome written submissions by Friday 21 April 2017 on the following points:
- The extent of current and future use of algorithms in decision-making in Government and public bodies, businesses and others, and the corresponding risks and opportunities;
- Whether ‘good practice’ in algorithmic decision-making can be identified and spread, including in terms of:
— The scope for algorithmic decision-making to eliminate, introduce or amplify biases or discrimination, and how any such bias can be detected and overcome;
— Whether and how algorithmic decision-making can be conducted in a ‘transparent’ or ‘accountable’ way, and the scope for decisions made by an algorithm to be fully understood and challenged;
— DThe implications of increased transparency in terms of copyright and commercial sensitivity, and protection of an individual’s data;
- Methods for providing regulatory oversight of algorithmic decision-making, such as the rights described in the EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016.
The Committee would welcome views on the issues above, and submissions that illustrate how the issues vary by context through case studies of the use of algorithmic decision-making.
You can submit written evidence through the algorithms in decision-making inquiry page.
I looked at the submission form and while it assumes the submitter is from the UK, there doesn’t seem to be any impediment to citizens of other countries from making a submission. Since there is some personal information included as part of the submission, there is a note about data protection on the Guidance on giving evidence to a Select Committee of the House of Commons webpage.