back to article New Zealand government to explain its algorithms to stop robo-bias warping policy

New Zealand has created what it claims is the world’s first “Algorithm Charter” that sets out how government agencies should devise algorithms and explain their workings. The premise of the charter [PDF] is that algorithms are mighty useful, but also fallible. It therefore calls for agencies to have “particular focus on those …

  1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Boffin

    Remember to never forget the simplest of coding steps made by others. Don't be evil ....

    ..... and all will be well

    The chances of effective algorithms playing or being controlled by any set of rules other than their very own is zero, whenever they are decidedly and designedly nice and doing no evil/shining a blinding light on cursed anomalies and corrupting and subverting practices/perverse ignorant and arrogant self-serving beliefs.

    And algorithms nowadays, more so than ever before was realised, make all of the major strategic operational decisions for media and computers to present to you as if made by/for humans.

    It is a Perfectly Normal Quite Natural AI Progression which you might like to process as being akin to a Revolutionary Quantum Leap Evolution..... Virtual Machine Scenario ...... which you are disenabled to deny and unable to prevent overtaking the mainstream of global consciousness and therefore also the regular daily 0day cycles of Earthly news. The good news is now you are prepared with the knowledge of what is before you and would lead you in a clear field devoid of moronic interests and destructive sources ....... deep dark and dismal forces.

    1. A K Stiles Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Remember to never forget the simplest of coding steps made by others. Don't be evil ....

      Now I'm concerned - I was well into the second paragraph before I thought "Hold on, is this a post by AMFM?"

      NURSE!! More dried frog pills, quickly now!

      1. Julz Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: Remember to never forget the simplest of coding steps made by others. Don't be evil ....

        Don't worry. Enlightenment doesn't hurt. Well, not much...

  2. Mike 137 Silver badge

    strange notion?

    It's a weird notion that an algorithm is something [a] conceptually new, [b] necessarily complicated, and [c] impossible to explain.

    Every single piece of code ever written is a realisation of some algorithm (even Turing's machine). The fundamental question is whether the algorithm is understandable. if not, it's a bad one. Implementing things you don't understand is dangerous.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: strange notion?

      Well said, Mike 137. I certainly agree.

      However, what is even stranger and much more likely to be catastrophically self-destructive, is implementing dangerous things one needs to rely on only a very select chosen few knowing anything about ........ for discovery by others of such an algorithm/program outside of that relatively magical circle immediately becomes highly problematical in an era and areas where such as would be dirty great secrets are easily instantly conveyed and displayed virtually everywhere.

      The quickest and easiest initial fix, trying to ensure the least amount of damage to systems if a fix to remedy the mistake or oversight, or whatever you would like to call it, is proposed to be in the pipeline for future trial deployment, is to handsomely pay whatever is needed to whomever or whatever is able to uncover and deliver such secrets. And if it is almighty bundles of flash cash, simply represented and nowadays presented by a suitably healthy current bank account total, is the situation saved by nothing of real value, and a devastating certain loss is transformed into a probably magical circular gain.

      To that and/or those enamoured and captivated by fiat capitalism, is it no more difficult than that ...... and thus does one have to question the distinctly obvious lack of intelligence in those and/or that which would choose to fail to avail themselves of such an opportunity whenever they are able/enabled to.

  3. G R Goslin

    Algorithm's new? Nah

    An algorithm is simply an explanation of how to go about a task. it has nothing to do with computing, per se. A sheet of paper explaining the steps required to make a cup of tea, is an algorithm. if you've ever tried it, explaining the steps required, in making a cup of tea can easily fill several A4 sheets of paper. And that writ small! The main snag in writing algoritms, is to gloss over steps in the process, as being "Oh, that's obvious". In the above case, leaving out "Check tea caddy for sufficiency of contents", will break the system.

    1. G R Goslin

      Re: Algorithm's new? Nah

      The commands, too, must be semantically correct. Simply saying "Boil the kettle" will result in some alarming results.

  4. Mike 16 Silver badge

    Unintended?

    What about _intended_ consequences that just happen to align with the interests of the algorithm wielders?

    Occam, not Hanlon.

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