November 14, 2021

avoiding the traps in new tech

Fine tuning required: algorithms can bring huge benefits – but poor design can create injustices and reduce transparency.

Algorithms can be immensely valuable in public services; but as the UK’s ill-judged A-levels algorithm demonstrated, badly designed systems can damage citizens and governments alike. At a recent GGF webinar, experts from around the world explored how to build public confidence and protect the public interest as civil servants adopt the technology. Adam Green reports

When Keith Stagner’s T-Impact consultancy was hired by the UK’s National Health Service to develop an algorithm to match donor organs with patients, success was judged by how many lives the software saved. For government bodies, the use of new technology often comes with such high stakes.

This can lead to “an underlying fear or anxiety about deploying algorithms in the public sector,…

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