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Oxford University Introduces New Commission to Address AI Governance in Public Policy

Oxford University Introduces New Commission to Address AI Governance in Public Policy

A new commission has been formed by Oxford University to advise world leaders on effective ways to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning in public administration and governance.

The Oxford Commission on AI and Good Governance (OxCAIGG) will bring together academics, technology experts and policymakers to analyse the AI implementation and procurement challenges faced by governments around the world. Led by the Oxford Internet Institute, the Commission will make recommendations on how AI–related tools can be adapted and adopted by policymakers for good governance now and in the near future.

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The new Commission’s inaugural thinkpiece, “Four Principles for Integrating AI & Good Governance” by Lisa-Maria Neudert and Philip Howard examines the procurement and use of AI by government and public agencies. The report outlines four significant challenges relating to AI development and application that need to be overcome for AI to be put to work for good governance and leverage it as a ‘force for good’ in government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The working paper underscores the urgent need for inclusive design, informed procurement, purposeful implementation and persistent accountability in order to integrate AI and good governance, and to protect and even advance democracy. The authors raise issues in relation to the need for training and specialized due diligence processes, the integration of automated decision-making into policy making, inherent bias within training data sets and the explainability of algorithms and make recommendations for research and policy priorities.

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The Commission will address these questions in a series of reports in the coming months as it looks at the impact of AI on areas of government procurement and seeks to set out best practice for policy makers and government officials. These future working papers will look at the uses of AI in public service, including their development, procurement and implementation and provide evidence about the real-world impact of AI.
The OxCAIGG commissioners are:

  • Dr Yuichiro Anzai , Chair of the Council for Artificial Intelligence Strategy, and adviser to the Japanese government on strategic policy
  • Mr Tom Fletcher CMG, founder of The Foundation for Opportunity and Visiting Professor at New York University
  • Dame Wendy Hall , Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton and Chair of the Ada Lovelace Institute
  • Professor Philip Howard , Director of the OII
  • Sir Julian King, British diplomat and former European Commissioner for Security Union
  • Professor Safiya Noble, Associate Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Mr Howard Rosen CBE, solicitor and former President of the Council of British Chambers of Commerce in Europe
  • Baroness Shields OBE , CEO, BenevolentAI and former UK Minister for Internet Safety and Security
  • Professor Weixing Shen , Dean of Tsinghua University’s School of Law in Beijing, China

The Commission has several goals, including:

  • Investigate and analyse the AI implementation challenges faced by democratic governments worldwide
  • Identify best practices for evaluating and managing risks and benefits of the use of AI in public policy administration and governance
  • Determine the next generation of research–driven policy guidelines needed to help public agencies implement AI and machine learning in policy decisions
  • Recommend specific action steps in research, practice, and policy to create an effective environment for government departments evaluating, procuring and applying AI tools for use in public service
    Coming as governments around the world grapple with the ethics and data challenges of using AI–driven tools in the provision of public service, the Commission hopes to inform the debate on how AI can be used as a force for good in the distribution of public services, without the risks of perpetuating social inequalities or causing additional public policy problems.
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