WRR calls for more government involvement in artificial intelligence

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The Scientific Council for Government Policy warns the government against the use of artificial intelligence. The WRR argues for a ‘policy infrastructure’ in which not only the technology itself, but also the government plays an important role.

The WRR, which supports government policy with scientific insights, argues for a greater role for the government in a report on artificial intelligence. According to the WRR, AI is ‘at a turning point’ where developments are not only academic, but also become established in society. The government must deal with this in a more structural way, for example by formulating policy, the agency says.

The WRR defines artificial intelligence as ‘systems that display intelligent behavior by analyzing their environment and – with some degree of autonomy – taking action to achieve specific goals’. This includes many things, including algorithms that the government uses to make risk indications, for example. Systems such as SyRI and the Data Processing by Partnerships Act or WGS have previously come under fire, but the WRR also warns against other automated decision-making. Governments, on the other hand, should also pay more attention to the opportunities offered by AI.

The WRR states that five steps are needed to deploy AI in society. In the first place, the Council argues for more clarity about the technology. For example, it should become clearer whether AI is indeed a ‘black box’, as is often stated, and attention should be paid to knowledge transfer when artificial intelligence replaces human employees. According to the Council, the government should also provide more clarity to society about the deployment and use of algorithms, for example through algorithm registers.

The government should also provide more context to the outside world if it uses algorithms. This could lead to ‘a good human-machine interaction’. Politicians could also focus more on these dynamics, the Council says, for example by setting up training and certifications that allow employees and organizations to better deal with AI.

Finally, the WRR recommends that organizations and other parties involved be involved in the deployment and decision-making of AI at an earlier stage. There is also a need for better legislation, and AI training should be set up on a more international level.

A concrete recommendation in the report is that the government set up an AI coordination center. This can then share knowledge about AI between government agencies, regulators and other government institutions.

The WRR states that AI should not only be seen as a technology, but as ‘a system technology that will fundamentally change society’. Such a system technology is so widespread in society that it is necessary for the government to get involved more. “If the government waits too long with this, the dynamics of the embedding of AI will overtake the legislator and certain players have now seized power to such an extent that a way back is hardly possible,” says the government body.

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