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European Union Regulations on Algorithmic Decision-Making and a “Right to Explanation”

Bryce Goodman, Seth Flaxman

Abstract


We summarize the potential impact that the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation will have on the routine use of machine learning algorithms. Slated to take effect as law across the EU in 2018, it will restrict automated individual decision-making (that is, algorithms that make decisions based on user-level predictors) which “significantly affect” users. The law will also effectively create a “right to explanation,” whereby a user can ask for an explanation of an algorithmic decision that was made about them. We argue that while this law will pose large challenges for industry, it highlights opportunities for computer scientists to take the lead in designing algorithms and evaluation frameworks which avoid discrimination and enable explanation.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1609/aimag.v38i3.2741

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