Review into Bias in Algorithmic Decision-Making

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Published by:
Research Bodies (Universities, NGOs, Think Thanks)
Date of publication:
Background Material

United Kingdom

The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) is an independent expert advisory body, set up and tasked by the UK government to investigate and advise on how we maximise the benefits of data-driven technologies.

This review focuses on decisions where potential bias seems to represent a significant and imminent ethical risk:
● Where algorithms have the potential to make or inform a significant decision that directly affects an individual human being
● Where algorithmic decision-making is being used now, or likely to be soon
● Where algorithmic decision making changes ethical risks
● Where decisions are potentially biased rather than other forms of unfairness such as arbitrariness or unreasonableness

We chose four initial areas of focus to illustrate the range of issues. These were policing, financial services, recruitment and local government. These sectors:
● Involve making decisions at scale about individuals which involve significant potential impacts on those individuals’ lives.
● Have growing interest in the use of algorithmic decision-making tools, including machine learning.
● Have evidence of historic bias in decision-making within these sectors, leading to risks of this being perpetuated by the introduction of algorithms.