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ICTC’s Technology and Human Rights Series

How countries like New Zealand and Canada are assessing the algorithms that public agencies put to use

This interview was originally conducted on September 30th, 2020.

Data science and artificial intelligence (AI) have made significant advancements in the last ten years, but there are a lot of questions arising about AI-driven decision-making processes in the public service. New Zealand is piloting an assessment tool that is opening the door to more ethical uses of AI by government.

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Wellington, NZ. Image by Squirrel_photos from Pixabay

Canada, New Zealand, and many other countries are working toward greater transparency and consistency in the way governments use algorithms to assist or make decisions. For example, both Canada and New Zealand have used a semi-automated process to triage visa applications and inform decision-making, prioritize applications, or assign risk to applications. While semi-automated decision-making can greatly improve administrative efficiency, it may also come with unintended consequences when it directly impacts human lives. …

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Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash

Who were they, and were any missed?

This article was written ahead of the federal government’s throne speech of September 23, 2020. According to a recent Ipsos poll, 18% of Canadian respondents want to hear a plan to reduce the deficit, while 17% want to put together “a longer-term universal basic income [UBI] for all Canadians.”

This piece does not take a position on the efficacy or need for a UBI: rather, it reviews existing research and identifies further areas of investigation. Given the division in public opinion that currently exists in Canada, research into the outcomes of UBI-style benefits is an essential component of future policymaking.

On July 31, 2020, the Canadian federal government announced its plans to ease the impact of closing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a program that provided a taxable income replacement for workers impacted by COVID-19. …

How European cities are promoting cycling during COVID-19, and what North America can learn: A conversation with Jill Warren, co-CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation

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Photo by Noralí Emilio on Unsplash

Faun: Thanks for taking the time to meet with us today. Could you begin by telling us a little about your work and the European Cyclists Federation in your own words?

Jill: Certainly. As you know, I am the co-CEO of the European Cyclists Federation (ECF) along with Morten Kabell. The ECF advocates for more and better cycling as a sustainable and healthy means of transport and leisure. We are the European umbrella organization for national cyclists’ federations throughout Europe. We focus on projects at the EU level, but we also work closely with our members to help them get access to funding or run projects at a national level. …

About

Faun Rice

Faun is a Senior Research and Policy Analyst for the Information and Communications Technology Council of Canada

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