The Necessity of Auditing Artificial Intelligence Algorithms

16 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2018

Date Written: December 11, 2017


Artificial intelligence (“AI” ) is the industrial revolution of the information age. Just as the industrial revolution automated physical tasks, AI automates cognitive processes. Governments sought to limit the harms and maximize the benefits of the industrial revolution by regulating the vehicle through which tasks were automated—namely, product manufacturing. Because today’s AI revolution automates cognitive processes through algorithms, any effective AI governance framework will require that regulators be able to audit the algorithms that automate these cognitive processes.

Rather than propose a full AI governance framework, this paper explains why audits of AI algorithms will be a necessary component of any successful governance framework. First, the opaque nature of AI algorithms shields its results and processes from meaningful review. Second, such a review is necessary to identify and correct the root causes of problematic behavior. Third, the need for meaningful review outweighs the intellectual property interests in the AI. Although the final version of AI governance may take many forms, each proposal will need to include a mechanism through which AI algorithms can be tested and monitored for validity.

Keywords: artificial intelligence, robots, regulation, audits, algorithms

Suggested Citation

Bauer, Jennifer, The Necessity of Auditing Artificial Intelligence Algorithms (December 11, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

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