Ethical principles
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Auditability means enabling the assessment of algorithms, data and design processes. Evaluation by internal and external auditors, and the availability of such evaluation reports, can contribute to the trustworthiness of the technology. In applications affecting fundamental rights, including safety-critical applications, AI systems should be open to independent auditing. This does not necessarily imply that information about business models and intellectual property related to the AI system must always be openly available, however.

Minimization and reporting of negative impacts

It is essential to ensure both the ability to report on actions or decisions that contribute to a certain system outcome, and to respond to the consequences of such an outcome. Identifying, assessing, documenting and minimizing the potential negative impacts of AI systems is especially crucial for those (in)directly affected. Due protection must be available for whistle-blowers, NGOs, trade unions or other entities when reporting legitimate concerns about an AI system. The use of impact assessments (e.g. red teaming or forms of algorithmic impact assessment), both prior to and during the development, deployment and use of AI systems, can help to minimize negative impacts. These assessments must be proportionate to the risk that the AI systems pose.


When implementing the above requirements, tensions may arise between them, which may lead to inevitable trade-offs. Such trade-offs should be addressed in a rational and methodological manner within the state of the art. This entails that relevant interests and values implicated by the AI system should be identified and that, if conflict arises, trade-offs should be explicitly acknowledged and evaluated in terms of their risk to ethical principles, including fundamental rights. In situations in which no ethically acceptable trade-offs can be identified, the development, deployment and use of the AI system should not proceed in that form. Any decision about which trade-off to make should be explained and properly documented. The decision-maker must be accountable for the manner in which the appropriate trade-off is made, and should continually review the appropriateness of the resulting decision to ensure that necessary changes can be made to the system where needed.


When unjust adverse impact occurs, accessible mechanisms should be in place that ensure adequate redress. Knowing that redress is possible when things go wrong is key to ensuring trust. Particular attention should be paid to vulnerable persons or groups.


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