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How the Government uses AI

Sébastien Krier

Have you been thinking about how the government regulates AI? What about governmental use, especially around surveillance technologies and biased algorithms? Sébastien Krier, AI policy adviser and founder of Dataphysix, explains how the government regulates AI uses and what more is needed.

You can connect with Sébastien on Twitter (@sebkrier) and LinkedIn.

Following from his Are You A Robot? interview, Sébastien gives an insight on how governing bodies have been using AI technologies, for example, surveillance and deterring terrorism. In his paper on Affect Recognition, Sébastien highlights how emotional recognition AI can be used to monitor group of people. In this episode, we delve into these issues, underlining what problems can arise from this type of technology, for example, cultural differences in expressing emotions. Should governmental bodies use these types of machines to analyse behaviour? If so, what are the potential risks?

It is clear that many ethical issues arise when considering what the government should use AI for and how. Recently, the UK government used an algorithm to predict A Level and GCSE grades as students could not sit the exams this year due to the COVID-19 crisis. The government decided to backtrack, as many students felt their grades had been downgraded due to the algorithm’s bias on school location and other factors. As Sébastien explains in the episode that there have been many cases where regulation comes in when it’s too late to backtrack, for example, COMPAS in America. But what is needed so that governments can make regulation laws swiftly?

“Trust is the key ingredient”

Transparency is vital when implementing new technologies to increase trust within the user population, and within groups who could potentially be harmed by the technology. For governmental bodies, Sébastien also suggests having more technical advisors when it comes to policy making to scrutinise decisions. Introduction of third-party policy makers would allow rules and regulations to be checked, highlighting transparency and scrutiny.

What do you think of the current regulatory system? What needs to be changed and what more can be done? Join the conversation in Slack and let us know what you think!

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