Fourth principle: Bias and Harm Mitigation

Those responsible for AI enabled systems must proactively mitigate the risk of unexpected or unintended biases or harms resulting from these systems, whether through their original rollout, or as they learn, change or are redeployed. AI enabled systems offer significant benefits for Defence. However, the use of AI enabled systems may also cause harms (beyond those already accepted under existing ethical and legal frameworks) to those using them or affected by their deployment. These may range from harms caused by a lack of suitable privacy for personal data, to unintended military harms due to system unpredictability. Such harms may change over time as systems learn and evolve, or as they are deployed beyond their original setting. Of particular concern is the risk of discriminatory outcomes resulting from algorithmic bias or skewed data sets. Defence must ensure that its AI enabled systems do not result in unfair bias or discrimination, in line with the MOD’s ongoing strategies for diversity and inclusion. A principle of bias and harm mitigation requires the assessment and, wherever possible, the mitigation of these biases or harms. This includes addressing bias in algorithmic decision making, carefully curating and managing datasets, setting safeguards and performance thresholds throughout the system lifecycle, managing environmental effects, and applying strict development criteria for new systems, or existing systems being applied to a new context.
Principle: Ethical Principles for AI in Defence, Jun 15, 2022

Published by The Ministry of Defence (MOD), United Kingdom

Related Principles

V. Diversity, non discrimination and fairness

Data sets used by AI systems (both for training and operation) may suffer from the inclusion of inadvertent historic bias, incompleteness and bad governance models. The continuation of such biases could lead to (in)direct discrimination. Harm can also result from the intentional exploitation of (consumer) biases or by engaging in unfair competition. Moreover, the way in which AI systems are developed (e.g. the way in which the programming code of an algorithm is written) may also suffer from bias. Such concerns should be tackled from the beginning of the system’ development. Establishing diverse design teams and setting up mechanisms ensuring participation, in particular of citizens, in AI development can also help to address these concerns. It is advisable to consult stakeholders who may directly or indirectly be affected by the system throughout its life cycle. AI systems should consider the whole range of human abilities, skills and requirements, and ensure accessibility through a universal design approach to strive to achieve equal access for persons with disabilities.

Published by European Commission in Key requirements for trustworthy AI, Apr 8, 2019

· 2. The Principle of Non maleficence: “Do no Harm”

AI systems should not harm human beings. By design, AI systems should protect the dignity, integrity, liberty, privacy, safety, and security of human beings in society and at work. AI systems should not threaten the democratic process, freedom of expression, freedoms of identify, or the possibility to refuse AI services. At the very least, AI systems should not be designed in a way that enhances existing harms or creates new harms for individuals. Harms can be physical, psychological, financial or social. AI specific harms may stem from the treatment of data on individuals (i.e. how it is collected, stored, used, etc.). To avoid harm, data collected and used for training of AI algorithms must be done in a way that avoids discrimination, manipulation, or negative profiling. Of equal importance, AI systems should be developed and implemented in a way that protects societies from ideological polarization and algorithmic determinism. Vulnerable demographics (e.g. children, minorities, disabled persons, elderly persons, or immigrants) should receive greater attention to the prevention of harm, given their unique status in society. Inclusion and diversity are key ingredients for the prevention of harm to ensure suitability of these systems across cultures, genders, ages, life choices, etc. Therefore not only should AI be designed with the impact on various vulnerable demographics in mind but the above mentioned demographics should have a place in the design process (rather through testing, validating, or other). Avoiding harm may also be viewed in terms of harm to the environment and animals, thus the development of environmentally friendly AI may be considered part of the principle of avoiding harm. The Earth’s resources can be valued in and of themselves or as a resource for humans to consume. In either case it is necessary to ensure that the research, development, and use of AI are done with an eye towards environmental awareness.

Published by The European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence in Draft Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI, Dec 18, 2018

· 8. Robustness

Trustworthy AI requires that algorithms are secure, reliable as well as robust enough to deal with errors or inconsistencies during the design, development, execution, deployment and use phase of the AI system, and to adequately cope with erroneous outcomes. Reliability & Reproducibility. Trustworthiness requires that the accuracy of results can be confirmed and reproduced by independent evaluation. However, the complexity, non determinism and opacity of many AI systems, together with sensitivity to training model building conditions, can make it difficult to reproduce results. Currently there is an increased awareness within the AI research community that reproducibility is a critical requirement in the field. Reproducibility is essential to guarantee that results are consistent across different situations, computational frameworks and input data. The lack of reproducibility can lead to unintended discrimination in AI decisions. Accuracy. Accuracy pertains to an AI’s confidence and ability to correctly classify information into the correct categories, or its ability to make correct predictions, recommendations, or decisions based on data or models. An explicit and well formed development and evaluation process can support, mitigate and correct unintended risks. Resilience to Attack. AI systems, like all software systems, can include vulnerabilities that can allow them to be exploited by adversaries. Hacking is an important case of intentional harm, by which the system will purposefully follow a different course of action than its original purpose. If an AI system is attacked, the data as well as system behaviour can be changed, leading the system to make different decisions, or causing the system to shut down altogether. Systems and or data can also become corrupted, by malicious intention or by exposure to unexpected situations. Poor governance, by which it becomes possible to intentionally or unintentionally tamper with the data, or grant access to the algorithms to unauthorised entities, can also result in discrimination, erroneous decisions, or even physical harm. Fall back plan. A secure AI has safeguards that enable a fall back plan in case of problems with the AI system. In some cases this can mean that the AI system switches from statistical to rule based procedure, in other cases it means that the system asks for a human operator before continuing the action.

Published by The European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence in Draft Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI, Dec 18, 2018

5 Ensure inclusiveness and equity

Inclusiveness requires that AI used in health care is designed to encourage the widest possible appropriate, equitable use and access, irrespective of age, gender, income, ability or other characteristics. Institutions (e.g. companies, regulatory agencies, health systems) should hire employees from diverse backgrounds, cultures and disciplines to develop, monitor and deploy AI. AI technologies should be designed by and evaluated with the active participation of those who are required to use the system or will be affected by it, including providers and patients, and such participants should be sufficiently diverse. Participation can also be improved by adopting open source software or making source codes publicly available. AI technology – like any other technology – should be shared as widely as possible. AI technologies should be available not only in HIC and for use in contexts and for needs that apply to high income settings but they should also be adaptable to the types of devices, telecommunications infrastructure and data transfer capacity in LMIC. AI developers and vendors should also consider the diversity of languages, ability and forms of communication around the world to avoid barriers to use. Industry and governments should strive to ensure that the “digital divide” within and between countries is not widened and ensure equitable access to novel AI technologies. AI technologies should not be biased. Bias is a threat to inclusiveness and equity because it represents a departure, often arbitrary, from equal treatment. For example, a system designed to diagnose cancerous skin lesions that is trained with data on one skin colour may not generate accurate results for patients with a different skin colour, increasing the risk to their health. Unintended biases that may emerge with AI should be avoided or identified and mitigated. AI developers should be aware of the possible biases in their design, implementation and use and the potential harm that biases can cause to individuals and society. These parties also have a duty to address potential bias and avoid introducing or exacerbating health care disparities, including when testing or deploying new AI technologies in vulnerable populations. AI developers should ensure that AI data, and especially training data, do not include sampling bias and are therefore accurate, complete and diverse. If a particular racial or ethnic minority (or other group) is underrepresented in a dataset, oversampling of that group relative to its population size may be necessary to ensure that an AI technology achieves the same quality of results in that population as in better represented groups. AI technologies should minimize inevitable power disparities between providers and patients or between companies that create and deploy AI technologies and those that use or rely on them. Public sector agencies should have control over the data collectedby private health care providers, and their shared responsibilities should be defined and respected. Everyone – patients, health care providers and health care systems – should be able to benefit from an AI technology and not just the technology providers. AI technologies should be accompanied by means to provide patients with knowledge and skills to better understand their health status and to communicate effectively with health care providers. Future health literacy should include an element of information technology literacy. The effects of use of AI technologies must be monitored and evaluated, including disproportionate effects on specific groups of people when they mirror or exacerbate existing forms of bias and discrimination. Special provision should be made to protect the rights and welfare of vulnerable persons, with mechanisms for redress if such bias and discrimination emerges or is alleged.

Published by World Health Organization (WHO) in Key ethical principles for use of artificial intelligence for health, Jun 28, 2021