Fifth principle: Reliability

AI enabled systems must be demonstrably reliable, robust and secure. The MOD’s AI enabled systems must be suitably reliable; they must fulfil their intended design and deployment criteria and perform as expected, within acceptable performance parameters. Those parameters must be regularly reviewed and tested for reliability to be assured on an ongoing basis, particularly as AI enabled systems learn and evolve over time, or are deployed in new contexts. Given Defence’s unique operational context and the challenges of the information environment, this principle also requires AI enabled systems to be secure, and a robust approach to cybersecurity, data protection and privacy. MOD personnel working with or alongside AI enabled systems can build trust in those systems by ensuring that they have a suitable level of understanding of the performance and parameters of those systems, as articulated in the principle of understanding.
Principle: Ethical Principles for AI in Defence, Jun 15, 2022

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

Related Principles

II. Technical robustness and safety

Trustworthy AI requires algorithms to be secure, reliable and robust enough to deal with errors or inconsistencies during all life cycle phases of the AI system, and to adequately cope with erroneous outcomes. AI systems need to be reliable, secure enough to be resilient against both overt attacks and more subtle attempts to manipulate data or algorithms themselves, and they must ensure a fall back plan in case of problems. Their decisions must be accurate, or at least correctly reflect their level of accuracy, and their outcomes should be reproducible. In addition, AI systems should integrate safety and security by design mechanisms to ensure that they are verifiably safe at every step, taking at heart the physical and mental safety of all concerned. This includes the minimisation and where possible the reversibility of unintended consequences or errors in the system’s operation. Processes to clarify and assess potential risks associated with the use of AI systems, across various application areas, should be put in place.

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

III. Privacy and Data Governance

Privacy and data protection must be guaranteed at all stages of the AI system’s life cycle. Digital records of human behaviour may allow AI systems to infer not only individuals’ preferences, age and gender but also their sexual orientation, religious or political views. To allow individuals to trust the data processing, it must be ensured that they have full control over their own data, and that data concerning them will not be used to harm or discriminate against them. In addition to safeguarding privacy and personal data, requirements must be fulfilled to ensure high quality AI systems. The quality of the data sets used is paramount to the performance of AI systems. When data is gathered, it may reflect socially constructed biases, or contain inaccuracies, errors and mistakes. This needs to be addressed prior to training an AI system with any given data set. In addition, the integrity of the data must be ensured. Processes and data sets used must be tested and documented at each step such as planning, training, testing and deployment. This should also apply to AI systems that were not developed in house but acquired elsewhere. Finally, the access to data must be adequately governed and controlled.

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

Second principle: Responsibility

Human responsibility for AI enabled systems must be clearly established, ensuring accountability for their outcomes, with clearly defined means by which human control is exercised throughout their lifecycles. The increased speed, complexity and automation of AI enabled systems may complicate our understanding of pre existing concepts of human control, responsibility and accountability. This may occur through the sorting and filtering of information presented to decision makers, the automation of previously human led processes, or processes by which AI enabled systems learn and evolve after their initial deployment. Nevertheless, as unique moral agents, humans must always be responsible for the ethical use of AI in Defence. Human responsibility for the use of AI enabled systems in Defence must be underpinned by a clear and consistent articulation of the means by which human control is exercised, and the nature and limitations of that control. While the level of human control will vary according to the context and capabilities of each AI enabled system, the ability to exercise human judgement over their outcomes is essential. Irrespective of the use case, Responsibility for each element of an AI enabled system, and an articulation of risk ownership, must be clearly defined from development, through deployment – including redeployment in new contexts – to decommissioning. This includes cases where systems are complex amalgamations of AI and non AI components, from multiple different suppliers. In this way, certain aspects of responsibility may reach beyond the team deploying a particular system, to other functions within the MOD, or beyond, to the third parties which build or integrate AI enabled systems for Defence. Collectively, these articulations of human control, responsibility and risk ownership must enable clear accountability for the outcomes of any AI enabled system in Defence. There must be no deployment or use without clear lines of responsibility and accountability, which should not be accepted by the designated duty holder unless they are satisfied that they can exercise control commensurate with the various risks.

Published by The Ministry of Defence (MOD), United Kingdom in Ethical Principles for AI in Defence, Jun 15, 2022

Third principle: Understanding

AI enabled systems, and their outputs, must be appropriately understood by relevant individuals, with mechanisms to enable this understanding made an explicit part of system design. Effective and ethical decision making in Defence, from the frontline of combat to back office operations, is always underpinned by appropriate understanding of context by those making decisions. Defence personnel must have an appropriate, context specific understanding of the AI enabled systems they operate and work alongside. This level of understanding will naturally differ depending on the knowledge required to act ethically in a given role and with a given system. It may include an understanding of the general characteristics, benefits and limitations of AI systems. It may require knowledge of a system’s purposes and correct environment for use, including scenarios where a system should not be deployed or used. It may also demand an understanding of system performance and potential fail states. Our people must be suitably trained and competent to operate or understand these tools. To enable this understanding, we must be able to verify that our AI enabled systems work as intended. While the ‘black box’ nature of some machine learning systems means that they are difficult to fully explain, we must be able to audit either the systems or their outputs to a level that satisfies those who are duly and formally responsible and accountable. Mechanisms to interpret and understand our systems must be a crucial and explicit part of system design across the entire lifecycle. This requirement for context specific understanding based on technically understandable systems must also reach beyond the MOD, to commercial suppliers, allied forces and civilians. Whilst absolute transparency as to the workings of each AI enabled system is neither desirable nor practicable, public consent and collaboration depend on context specific shared understanding. What our systems do, how we intend to use them, and our processes for ensuring beneficial outcomes result from their use should be as transparent as possible, within the necessary constraints of the national security context.

Published by The Ministry of Defence (MOD), United Kingdom in Ethical Principles for AI in Defence, Jun 15, 2022

3 Ensure transparency, explainability and intelligibility

AI should be intelligible or understandable to developers, users and regulators. Two broad approaches to ensuring intelligibility are improving the transparency and explainability of AI technology. Transparency requires that sufficient information (described below) be published or documented before the design and deployment of an AI technology. Such information should facilitate meaningful public consultation and debate on how the AI technology is designed and how it should be used. Such information should continue to be published and documented regularly and in a timely manner after an AI technology is approved for use. Transparency will improve system quality and protect patient and public health safety. For instance, system evaluators require transparency in order to identify errors, and government regulators rely on transparency to conduct proper, effective oversight. It must be possible to audit an AI technology, including if something goes wrong. Transparency should include accurate information about the assumptions and limitations of the technology, operating protocols, the properties of the data (including methods of data collection, processing and labelling) and development of the algorithmic model. AI technologies should be explainable to the extent possible and according to the capacity of those to whom the explanation is directed. Data protection laws already create specific obligations of explainability for automated decision making. Those who might request or require an explanation should be well informed, and the educational information must be tailored to each population, including, for example, marginalized populations. Many AI technologies are complex, and the complexity might frustrate both the explainer and the person receiving the explanation. There is a possible trade off between full explainability of an algorithm (at the cost of accuracy) and improved accuracy (at the cost of explainability). All algorithms should be tested rigorously in the settings in which the technology will be used in order to ensure that it meets standards of safety and efficacy. The examination and validation should include the assumptions, operational protocols, data properties and output decisions of the AI technology. Tests and evaluations should be regular, transparent and of sufficient breadth to cover differences in the performance of the algorithm according to race, ethnicity, gender, age and other relevant human characteristics. There should be robust, independent oversight of such tests and evaluation to ensure that they are conducted safely and effectively. Health care institutions, health systems and public health agencies should regularly publish information about how decisions have been made for adoption of an AI technology and how the technology will be evaluated periodically, its uses, its known limitations and the role of decision making, which can facilitate external auditing and oversight.

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