4. Explanation

Systems and institutions that use algorithmic decision making are encouraged to produce explanations regarding both the procedures followed by the algorithm and the specific decisions that are made. This is particularly important in public policy contexts.
Principle: Principles for Algorithmic Transparency and Accountability, Jan 12, 2017

Published by ACM US Public Policy Council (USACM)

Related Principles

Transparency and explainability

There should be transparency and responsible disclosure to ensure people know when they are being significantly impacted by an AI system, and can find out when an AI system is engaging with them. This principle aims to ensure responsible disclosure when an AI system is significantly impacting on a person’s life. The definition of the threshold for ‘significant impact’ will depend on the context, impact and application of the AI system in question. Achieving transparency in AI systems through responsible disclosure is important to each stakeholder group for the following reasons for users, what the system is doing and why for creators, including those undertaking the validation and certification of AI, the systems’ processes and input data for those deploying and operating the system, to understand processes and input data for an accident investigator, if accidents occur for regulators in the context of investigations for those in the legal process, to inform evidence and decision‐making for the public, to build confidence in the technology Responsible disclosures should be provided in a timely manner, and provide reasonable justifications for AI systems outcomes. This includes information that helps people understand outcomes, like key factors used in decision making. This principle also aims to ensure people have the ability to find out when an AI system is engaging with them (regardless of the level of impact), and are able to obtain a reasonable disclosure regarding the AI system.

Published by Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Australian Government in AI Ethics Principles, Nov 7, 2019

IV. Transparency

The traceability of AI systems should be ensured; it is important to log and document both the decisions made by the systems, as well as the entire process (including a description of data gathering and labelling, and a description of the algorithm used) that yielded the decisions. Linked to this, explainability of the algorithmic decision making process, adapted to the persons involved, should be provided to the extent possible. Ongoing research to develop explainability mechanisms should be pursued. In addition, explanations of the degree to which an AI system influences and shapes the organisational decision making process, design choices of the system, as well as the rationale for deploying it, should be available (hence ensuring not just data and system transparency, but also business model transparency). Finally, it is important to adequately communicate the AI system’s capabilities and limitations to the different stakeholders involved in a manner appropriate to the use case at hand. Moreover, AI systems should be identifiable as such, ensuring that users know they are interacting with an AI system and which persons are responsible for it.

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

(Preamble)

Automated decision making algorithms are now used throughout industry and government, underpinning many processes from dynamic pricing to employment practices to criminal sentencing. Given that such algorithmically informed decisions have the potential for significant societal impact, the goal of this document is to help developers and product managers design and implement algorithmic systems in publicly accountable ways. Accountability in this context includes an obligation to report, explain, or justify algorithmic decision making as well as mitigate any negative social impacts or potential harms. We begin by outlining five equally important guiding principles that follow from this premise: Algorithms and the data that drive them are designed and created by people There is always a human ultimately responsible for decisions made or informed by an algorithm. "The algorithm did it" is not an acceptable excuse if algorithmic systems make mistakes or have undesired consequences, including from machine learning processes.

Published by Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency in Machine Learning (FAT/ML) in Principles for Accountable Algorithms, Jul 22, 2016 (unconfirmed)

1. Demand That AI Systems Are Transparent

A transparent artificial intelligence system is one in which it is possible to discover how, and why, the system made a decision, or in the case of a robot, acted the way it did. In particular: A. We stress that open source code is neither necessary nor sufficient for transparency – clarity cannot be obfuscated by complexity. B. For users, transparency is important because it builds trust in, and understanding of, the system, by providing a simple way for the user to understand what the system is doing and why. C. For validation and certification of an AI system, transparency is important because it exposes the system’s processes for scrutiny. D. If accidents occur, the AI will need to be transparent and accountable to an accident investigator, so the internal process that led to the accident can be understood. E. Workers must have the right to demand transparency in the decisions and outcomes of AI systems as well as the underlying algorithms (see principle 4 below). This includes the right to appeal decisions made by AI algorithms, and having it reviewed by a human being. F. Workers must be consulted on AI systems’ implementation, development and deployment. G. Following an accident, judges, juries, lawyers, and expert witnesses involved in the trial process require transparency and accountability to inform evidence and decision making. The principle of transparency is a prerequisite for ascertaining that the remaining principles are observed. See Principle 2 below for operational solution.

Published by UNI Global Union in Top 10 Principles For Ethical Artificial Intelligence, Dec 11, 2017

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