European Centre for Algorithmic Transparency

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

One of the major concerns about ethics and accountability with the fast growing adoption of AI in all areas of society including education is the transparency of algorithms. We know that they can suffer from bias: datasets for training AI often reflect wider prejudices withing society and amplify those prejudices. Nut perhaps even more concerning is that it is often impossible to understand how an algorithm is working: it is a black box.

The European Commission has recently announced that it is establishing the European Centre for Algorithmic Transparency (ECAT) which it says will contribute to a safer, more predictable and trusted online environment for people and business.

They go on to say:

"How algorithmic systems shape the visibility and promotion of content, and its societal and ethical impact, is an area of growing concern. Measures adopted under the Digital Services Act (DSA) call for algorithmic accountability and transparency audits.

The ECAT contributes with scientific and technical expertise to the European Commission's exclusive supervisory and enforcement role of the systemic obligations on Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs) provided for under the DSA.

Scientists and experts working at the ECAT will cooperate with industry representatives, academia, and civil society organisations to improve our understanding of how algorithms work: they will analyse transparency, assess risks, and propose new transparent approaches and best practices."

European Ethical Guideline for the use of AI in Education

The debate over AI and ethics continues. Yet, all too often it is very abstract and fails to connect with practice. Recently the EU has published a set of ethical guidelines for educators on the use of AI and data in education.

They say:

The guidelines are intended for primary and secondary teachers and can be used by educators with little or no experience with digital education.

They clarify popular and widespread misconceptions about artificial intelligence (AI) that might confuse people and cause anxiety over its use, especially in education.

Ethical considerations and requirements underpinning the guidelines are addressed and practical advice is offered to educators and school leaders on how to integrate the effective use of AI and data into school education.

Finally, the guidelines discuss emerging competences for the ethical use of AI and data among teachers and educators, suggesting ways of raising awareness and engaging with the community.

The guidelines can be downloaded in Bulgarian, English, German and French from the Publications Office of the European Union.