The level of awareness of citizens, NGOs, media, academia, but also the states themselves about Automated Decision Making Systems (ADOs) and artificial intelligence (AI) is low and needs to change as these systems continue to influence the welfare of citizens. NGOs should work together with government authorities to discuss the benefits and risks of these systems.

This was said, among other things, at the session “Algorithms, privacy and security. Let’s talk human rights “, within the 17th International Conference “” organized by Metamorphosis, which was addressed by representatives of civil society and legal experts from RNM, Europe and America.

“When it comes to the use of ADO and AI, especially ADO in official state use, NGOs are largely silent about the risks, benefits and side effects that this process can bring. This can be due to various reasons, such as lack of professional technical knowledge for checking algorithms, lack of human and financial resources, and perhaps a general feeling that this topic is “very technical” and that it belongs to a very small number on stakeholders, but there may also be a sense of inadequacy to comment on the latest developments and trends,” said Goce Arsovski, Program Support Officer at the Metamorphosis Foundation.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can help raise awareness of the use of automated decision-making systems or artificial intelligence.

“I agree that the level of public awareness about ADO is not at the right level. NGOs can help because we work with more closed communities at the local level and they can help by offering explanations to the public about the purpose of using ADO. NGOs can provide research grants in this area, just as governments must provide certain funding from the budget,” said Olga Kyryliuk, technical program manager at the American Bar Association.

Orsolya Vincze, a legal expert at K-Monitor in Hungary states that government officials are unfamiliar with the process and that NGOs are not involved.

“AI is basically not known as a topic for NGOs, we are an anti-corruption NGO and then we got involved in this area. We do not see much involvement of NGOs in this area, we have an artificial intelligence (AI) coalition and some are part of it, but we also have an ethics group working on legislation on how to regulate algorithms. When it comes to ADO regulations, we are a little late. What we have learned from our study is that state officials are not aware of the process,” Vincze said.

Krzysztof Izdebski, a legal and policy expert at the Stefan Batory Foundation in Poland, spoke about the electronic court case allocation system in Poland, which is similar to the ACMIS system used in RNM for court case distribution.

“I tried to get the algorithm of the system from the Ministry of Justice, initially they did not give it, but then we got the case and now the algorithm is published on the website of the Ministry of Justice. People thought that this was not an open system, and that it might be a manipulative system. It was important for us experts to show them that you are implementing ADO which has an impact on the rights and obligations of the citizens. Thus, every decision-making, including ADO, must be transparent,” Izdebski stressed.

All panelists agreed that NGOs, regardless of their field of action, should be involved in discussions on this issue.