USACM Issues Statement on Algorithmic Transparency and Accountability

January 12, 2017

Recognizing the ubiquity of algorithms in our daily lives, as well as their far-reaching impact, the ACM US Public Policy Council (USACM) has issued a statement and a list of seven principles designed to address potential harmful bias. The goals of the statement include: providing context for what algorithms are, how they make decisions, and the technical challenges and opportunities to prevent and mitigate potential harmful bias.

The USACM statement asserts that these principles should guide every phase of software system development and deployment. “Algorithmic bias can occur even with the best of intentions,” said Stuart Shapiro, USACM Chair. “This is, in part, due to the fact that both software development and its products can be complex and produce unanticipated results. Following these principles cannot guarantee that there will be no biased algorithms or biased outputs. But they will serve to keep computing professionals on the lookout for ways biases could creep into systems and provide guidelines on how to minimize the potential for harm.”

The Statement on Algorithmic Transparency and Accountability was designed to be consistent with ACM’s Code of Ethics. The effort was initiated by USACM’s Algorithmic Accountability Working Group.

Read the ACM news release.

Update: Joint Statement on Algorithmic Transparency and Accountability by USACM and EUACM (ACM Europe Policy Committee), May 25, 2017.