In this episode I talk to Sandra Wachter about the right to explanation for algorithmic decision-making under the GDPR. Sandra is a lawyer and Research Fellow in Data Ethics and Algorithms at the Oxford Internet Institute. She is also a Research Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute in London. Sandra’s research focuses on the legal and ethical implications of Big Data, AI, and robotics as well as governmental surveillance, predictive policing, and human rights online. Her current work deals with the ethical design of algorithms, including the development of standards and methods to ensure fairness, accountability, transparency, interpretability, and group privacy in complex algorithmic systems.
- 0:00 – Introduction
- 2:05 – The rise of algorithmic/automated decision-making
- 3:40 – Why are algorithmic decisions so opaque? Why is this such a concern?
- 5:25 – What are the benefits of algorithmic decisions?
- 7:43 – Why might we want a ‘right to explanation’ of algorithmic decisions?
- 11:05 – Explaining specific decisions vs. explaining decision-making systems
- 15:48 – Introducing the GDPR – What is it and why does it matter?
- 19:29 – Is there a right to explanation embedded in Article 22 of the GDPR?
- 23:30 – The limitations of Article 22
- 27:40 – When do algorithmic decisions have ‘significant effects’?
- 29:30 – Is there a right to explanation in Articles 13 and 14 of the GDPR (the ‘notification duties’ provisions)?
- 33:33 – Is there a right to explanation in Article 15 (the access right provision)?
- 37:45 – Is there any hope that a right to explanation might be interpreted into the GDPR?
- 43:04 – How could we explain algorithmic decisions? Introducing counterfactual explanations
- 47:55 – Clarifying the concept of a counterfactual explanation
- 51:00 – Criticisms and limitations of counterfactual explanations
- Sandra’s profile page at the Oxford Internet Institute
- Sandra’s academia.edu page
- ‘Why a right to explanation does not exist in the General Data Protection Regulation’ by Wachter, Mittelstadt and Floridi
- ‘Counterfactual explanations without opening the black box: Automated decisions and the GDPR’ by Wachter, Mittelstadt and Russell
- The General Data Protection Regulation
- Article 29 working party guidance on the GDPR
- Do judges make stricter sentencing decisions when they are hungry? and a Reply