Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

Understanding algorithmic decision-making: Opportunities and challenges, Study for the European Parliament (STOA)

Participants : Claude Castelluccia, Daniel Le Métayer.

Algorithms are far from being a recent invention but they are increasingly involved in systems used to support decision making. Algorithmic Decision Systems (ADS) often rely on the analysis of large amounts of personal data to infer correlations or, more generally, to derive information deemed useful to make decisions. Humans may have a role of varying degree in the decision making and may even be completely out of the loop in entirely automated systems. In many situations, the impact of the decision on people can be significant: access to credit, employment, medical treatment, judicial sentences, etc. Entrusting ADS to make or to influence such decisions raises a variety of issues that differ in nature such as ethical, political, legal, technical, etc. and great care must be taken to analyse and address these issues. If they are neglected, the expected benefits of these systems may be offset by the variety of risks for individuals (discrimination, unfair practices, loss of autonomy, etc.), the economy (unfair practices, limited access to markets, etc.) and society as a whole (manipulation, threat to democracy, etc.).

We have written a report for the European Parliament reviewing the opportunities and risks related to the use of ADS. We present existing options to reduce these risks and explain their limitations. We sketch some recommendations to benefit from the tremendous possibilities of ADS while limiting the risks related to their use. Beyond providing an up-to-date and systematic review of the situation, the report gives a precise definition of a number of key terms and an analysis of their differences. This helps clarify the debate. The main focus of the report is the technical aspects of ADS. However, other legal, ethical and social dimensions are considered to broaden the discussion.