Policy paper

Artificial Intelligence and Public Standards: report

The Committee on Standards in Public Life has today published its report on artificial intelligence and its impact on public standards.

Documents

Artificial Intelligence and Public Standards: report

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The Committee has today published its report and recommendations to government to ensure that high standards of conduct are upheld as technologically assisted decision making is adopted more widely across the public sector.

Artificial intelligence – and in particular, machine learning – will transform the way public sector organisations make decisions and deliver public services. Adherence to high public standards will help fully realise the benefits of AI in public service delivery. By ensuring that AI is subject to appropriate safeguards and regulations, the public can have confidence that new technologies will be used in a way that upholds the Seven Principles of Public Life. We concluded that the Principles remain a valid guide for public sector practice as AI is deployed across government.

Our recommendations are directed towards three key audiences.

Our message to government is that the UK’s regulatory and governance framework for AI in the public sector remains a work in progress and deficiencies are notable. The work of the Office for AI, the Alan Turing Institute, the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI), and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) are all commendable. But on the issues of transparency and data bias in particular, there is an urgent need for guidance and regulation.

Regulators must also prepare for the changes AI will bring. We concluded that the UK does not need a new AI regulator, but that all regulators must adapt to the challenges that AI poses to their sectors. The Committee endorses the government’s intention to establish CDEI as an independent, statutory body that will advise government and regulators in this area.

Upholding public standards will also require action from public bodies using AI to deliver frontline services. All public bodies must comply with the law surrounding data-driven technology and implement clear, risk-based governance for their use of AI.

Published 10 February 2020