Guidelines and Online Tool Support Implementation
Algorithms are an integral part of daily life in a digital world. The online tool VᴇʀA (short for “Verantwortung“ (responsibility) and “Algorithmen“ (algorithms)) and the supplementary guidelines developed by Lukas Daniel Klausner of the St. Pölten UAS and Angelika Adensamer (VICESSE, Vienna Centre for Societal Security) make an important contribution to the promotion of responsibility and accountability in using algorithms. The project is subsidised by the Chamber of Labour Vienna within the framework of the funding programme Digitalisierungsfonds Arbeit 4.0.
Foundation for responsible use
Using algorithms is a balancing act between multiple opportunities, many risks and a great deal of responsibility. On the one hand, algorithms are already facilitating and automating many processes in almost all areas of life. On the other hand, new problems in their implementation are emerging – ranging from automatic facial detection and monitoring in digital space to the introduction of an algorithm for the Austrian Employment Service (AMS) to assess the chances of job seekers. Now, the online tool VᴇʀA and the accompanying guidelines offer a basis for the responsible use of algorithms.
“Our tool helps to implement the entire process of using and introducing algorithms in companies and institutions more responsibly, and in some cases, they can provide guidance for creating the necessary conditions to do so in the first place”, emphasises Lukas Daniel Klausner, researcher at the St. Pölten UAS’ Institute of IT Security Research. “Above all, our guidelines assist in clearly defining the responsibilities within an organisation and controlling whether the designated duties correspond to the actual responsibilities and accountabilities”, says Klausner who was primarily in charge of (socio)technical aspects of the project.
Identifying Problems Early
Angelika Adensamer, legal expert specialising in data protection and fundamental rights, places a special focus on the far-reaching legal implications of using algorithms. “We encourage everybody who wants or has to work with algorithms or considers doing so in the future to use our guidelines and our interactive tool in order to identify potential problems – legal or otherwise – at an early stage.
The Chamber of Labour Vienna, which made the project possible through its funding programme Digitalisierungsfonds Arbeit 4.0, sees it as an important contribution to the debate on the future of work. “The implementation of algorithms and Artificial Intelligence is already happing in the world of work. What we need is accompanying orientation on questions of responsibility in areas where automated systems and people interact”, says Renate Anderl, President of the Chamber of Labour Vienna.
The tool and the guidelines will be further developed based on the feedback from their practical implementation in companies. In addition, the researchers are currently working on an accompanying scientific publication on the guidelines and the tool. Furthermore, a second publication with the title “Part Man, Part Machine, All Cop: Automation in Policing” will appear in the journal “Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence” soon. The article will address questions of automation in policing and in the judiciary system.