This image was created by Lorenn Ruster using a Style Image Transfer AI algorithm developed by Derrick Schultz and Lia Coleman and images from “Coloured Pattern Texture” by Chrismatos ♥90% OFF, sorry is licensed under CC BY 2.0 and “MIT Museum: Kismet the AI robot smiles at you” by Chris Devers is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Applying a dignity lens to government AI Ethics instruments: What does a dignity lens even mean?

What do we mean by dignity?

Drawing on definitions from Hicks, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The Ethics Centre, we have landed on the following working definition of dignity to guide us forward:

Figure 1: Donna Hicks (2013) 10 essential elements of dignity

Why is dignity relevant when considering AI Ethics instruments in a government context?

Dignity is a core value underpinning democracy:

What do we mean by a dignity lens?

Our Dignity Lens has a fundamental belief at its core: we believe a goal of government should be to enable a Dignity Ecosystem and AI Ethics instruments should be one avenue by which this goal is pursued.

  1. Through Protective roles — this includes mechanisms and actions associated with preventing dignity violations and remedying dignity violations.
  2. Through Proactive roles — this includes mechanisms and actions associated with promoting dignity.
Figure 2: Our Dignity Lens
  1. To what extent are Hicks’ 10 essential elements of dignity reflected in government AI Ethics instruments? ; and
  2. What types of roles are being played by governments in relation to these dignity elements?
  • Preventing Dignity Violations: mechanisms to ensure compliance with non-discrimination laws; and / or
  • Remedying Dignity Violations: mechanisms to enable review and challenge of algorithmic decisions
  • Promoting Dignity: actions of hiring staff from diverse backgrounds, cultures and disciplines
Figure 3: Our Dignity Lens in action as an analytic tool

Our ask

We firmly believe in the power of collective intelligence to help us ask better questions and interrogate our own biases with greater rigour. With this in mind, we invite:

  • feedback on what you’ve read above — does Our Dignity Lens resonate? What do you find interesting? What is unclear?
  • ideas — does this spark a new idea for you that we could potentially incorporate or explore together? Or trigger an idea you have already explored that may be relevant?
  • potential contacts — are you someone we should be speaking with on this? Is there someone in your network that we should be contacting



We are a not-for-profit, founded by the Boston Consulting Group, that works with governments, public servants, and other changemakers to reimagine government. We turn ideas into action so that government works for everyone.

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Lorenn Ruster

Exploring #dignity centred #design #tech #AI #leadership | PhD Candidate ANU School of Cybernetics | Acumen Fellow | PIC, SingularityU, CEMS MIM alum|Views =own