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Algorithmic transparency and bureaucratic discretion: The case of SALER early warning system

Algorithmic transparency and bureaucratic discretion: The case of SALER early warning system The governance of public sector organizations has been challenged by the growing adoption and use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems and algorithms. Algorithmic transparency, conceptualized here using the dimensions of accessibility and explainability, fosters the appraisal of algorithms’ footprint in decisions of public agencies, and should include impacts on civil servants’ work. However, although discretion will not disappear, AI innovations might have a negative impact on how public employees support their decisions. This article is intended to answer the following research questions: RQ1. To what extent algorithms affect discretionary power of civil servants to make decisions?RQ2. How algorithmic transparency can impact discretionary power of civil servants? To do so, we analyze SALER, a case based on a set of algorithms focused on the prevention of irregularities in the Valencian regional administration (GVA), Spain, using a qualitative methodology supported on semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis. Among the results of the study, our empirical work suggests the existence of a series of factors that might be linked to the positive impacts of algorithms on the work and discretionary power of civil servants. Also, we identify different pathways for achieving algorithmic transparency, such as the involvement of civil servants in active development, or auditing processes being recognized by law, among others. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Information Polity IOS Press

Algorithmic transparency and bureaucratic discretion: The case of SALER early warning system

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Publisher
IOS Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2020 © 2020 – IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved
ISSN
1570-1255
eISSN
1875-8754
DOI
10.3233/IP-200260
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The governance of public sector organizations has been challenged by the growing adoption and use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems and algorithms. Algorithmic transparency, conceptualized here using the dimensions of accessibility and explainability, fosters the appraisal of algorithms’ footprint in decisions of public agencies, and should include impacts on civil servants’ work. However, although discretion will not disappear, AI innovations might have a negative impact on how public employees support their decisions. This article is intended to answer the following research questions: RQ1. To what extent algorithms affect discretionary power of civil servants to make decisions?RQ2. How algorithmic transparency can impact discretionary power of civil servants? To do so, we analyze SALER, a case based on a set of algorithms focused on the prevention of irregularities in the Valencian regional administration (GVA), Spain, using a qualitative methodology supported on semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis. Among the results of the study, our empirical work suggests the existence of a series of factors that might be linked to the positive impacts of algorithms on the work and discretionary power of civil servants. Also, we identify different pathways for achieving algorithmic transparency, such as the involvement of civil servants in active development, or auditing processes being recognized by law, among others.

Journal

Information PolityIOS Press

Published: Dec 4, 2020

References