Declaration by the Committee of Ministers On The Risks of Computer-assisted or Artificial-İntelligence-Enabled Decision Making In The Field of The Social Safety Net Adopted on 17 March 2021

Summary by: Asst. Prof. Dr. Tuba Kelep Pekmez, Res. Asst. Eren Sözüer

Translation by: Res. Asst. Pınar Özcan

Scope of the Declaration

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted this declaration, emphasizing that social rights should be protected in computer-assisted or artificial-intelligence-enabled decision-making processes within the scope of the complementarity of human rights. In this context, with the latest technological developments, the problems that may arise from the use of computer-assisted or artificial intelligence-enabled decision making systems which are being used by states in decision-making processes which are affecting social rights.

The Risks of Computer-Assisted or Artificial-Intelligence-Enabled Decision Making in the field of Social Security

The Committee of Ministers pointed out that the use of such systems has advantages such as providing faster service for individuals, lowering administration costs and providing transparency, as well as faulty decisions due to the characteristics of the “code” of the computer or artificial intelligence may deprive individuals of their social rights. Therefore, computer-assisted or artificial intelligence-enabled decision making processes regarding social security should be fair and should be implemented without causing any difference in terms of social cohesion. In particular, the Committee of Ministers stressed the danger of situated discrimination patterns finding an application area. Because biased and/or erroneous automatic decisions to be taken by states may lead to deprivation, extreme poverty and even homelessness and may cause serious or irreparable harm to those concerned.

Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers

  • Computer-assisted or artificial-intelligence-enabled decision-making mechanisms should be developed and used in accordance with the principles of legal certainty, legality, data quality, prohibition of discrimination and transparency.
  • Human oversight should be present to prevent or reduce errors in computer-assisted or artificial- intelligence-enabled decision making mechanisms.
  • Special measures should be taken to protect vulnerable persons.

Declaration text: https://search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectId=0900001680a1cb98

For further information on artificial intelligence-enabled decision making see: https://becominghuman.ai/how-artificial-intelligence-helps-to-improve-decision-making-347a67f9127f