Algorithm transparency

Algorithms used for making decisions on the provisions or with-holding of services should be open for inspection. This should apply to both public and private service delivery.

Code should be lodged with a government agency and a community agency fit for purpose - possibly fyi.org.nz, internet NZ   or the open source society. The community agency should be funded to carry out this role. Code should be able to be run to demonstrate outcomes.

Why the contribution is important

The instances of use of algorithms to provide goods and services exists already and can only grow.  The following are examples.

Just recently it has been reported that NZ workers have lost out by between $1bn and $2bn over a decade because the payroll providers were either unable or unwilling to encode the holiday pay rules into their payroll systems. The government's social investment approach is predicated on identifying people at risk because of their measurable profile.  The flag referendum was the first time STV voting has been used in central government. Pharmac is looking at algorithms and profiling determining the delivery of medicines.

Without the opportunity to open the code our interactions with public and private agencies are essentially a black box

by JanRivers on August 24, 2016 at 07:21AM

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