April 30, 2020

Algorithms in public land register

Tech company argues for verifiability of algorithms via a public 'smart land register' The problem is extensive: 48% of all government agencies actively use algorithms and these can be disastrous for citizens. Thanks to an algorithm used by the Tax and Customs Administration, innocent citizens and Tesla wealthy people have received enormous subsidies for years. Tech company RevenYOU from Haarlem argues for the testability of algorithms via a public 'smart-register'. They see this smart-kadaster as the way to get the Netherlands at the top of the algorithm.

The Strategic Action Plan for Artificial Intelligence presented by Mona Keijzer," says Stokman of RevenYOU, "is great and could be even better; it doesn't contain the central element on which all the algorithm for global success relies: platforms. If the government wants to seize new opportunities, it will have to work intensively with the forerunners of the tech sector.

The problem: Algorithms are a 'Black Box'. Creators of algorithms do not provide the 'source code'. This is their secret. This is diametrically opposed to the interests of citizens, society and the judiciary, who want to know exactly what the government algorithm decides. An accessible land registry algorithm could be the solution. Algorithms should, just like normal policy, be subject to democratic transparency. Judges, administrators and also citizens should gain insight into the decisions that algorithms make.

Algorithms are the building blocks of the future economy. RevenYOU proposes the 'smart-kadaster'; the smart-kadaster makes decisions that make the algorithm transparent. The source code, the core of the algorithm, the 'secret of the smithy' does not have to be released. Algorithms can be tested on the smart land register and even sold prior to use by the judiciary, administration, politics, companies and even citizens.

Deep-tech innovator Michiel Stokman has a lot of experience with algorithms on platforms. "We notice the positive quality effect of openness and testability. Every algorithm maker knows that if 48% of all government services use algorithms, probably 20% to 40% are not fully functional and can potentially do a lot of harm to the citizen. We work in finance and healthcare, where up to 1-2% of the algorithms are really good, there is no reason to assume that this is very different in government algorithms. You hold your heart," says Stokman.

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