Towards accountability in the use of Artificial Intelligence for Public Administrations

Michele Loi und Matthias Spielkamp analyze the regulatory content of 16 guideline documents about the use of AI in the public sector, by mapping their requirements to those of our philosophical account of accountability, and conclude that while some guidelines refer processes that amount to auditing, it seems that the debate would benefit from more clarity about the nature of the entitlement of auditors and the goals of auditing, also in order to develop ethically meaningful standards with respect to which different forms of auditing can be evaluated and compared.

In their analysis, Loi and Spielkamp argue that the phenomena of distributed responsibility, induced acceptance, and acceptance through ignorance constitute instances of imperfect delegation when tasks are delegated to computationally-driven systems. Imperfect delegation challenges human accountability. We hold that both direct public accountability via public transparency and indirect public accountability via transparency to auditors in public organizations can be both instrumentally ethically valuable and required as a matter of deontology from the principle of democratic self-government.

Matthias Spielkamp

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Photo: Julia Bornkessel, CC BY 4.0
Matthias Spielkamp is co-founder and executive director of AlgorithmWatch (Theodor Heuss Medal 2018, Grimme Online Nominee 2019). He testified before committees of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the German Bundestag and other institutions on automation and AI and is a member of the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI). Matthias serves on the governing board of the German section of Reporters Without Borders, the advisory councils of Stiftung Warentest and the Whistleblower Network and the Expert Committee on Communication/Information of Germany’s UNESCO Commission. He was a fellow of ZEIT Stiftung, Stiftung Mercator and the American Council on Germany. Matthias is editor of the Automating Society reports and has written and edited books on the automation of society, digital journalism and Internet governance. He holds master’s degrees in Journalism from the University of Colorado in Boulder and in Philosophy from the Free University of Berlin.