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26 Auckland U. L. Rev. [88] (2020)
Reason-Giving in the Age of Algorithms

handle is hein.journals/auck26 and id is 88 raw text is: Reason-Giving in the Age of Algorithms

Public sector agencies are increasingly using sophisticated
machine learning algorithms to assist and make decisions
previously made solely by humans. This use of advanced
algorithms presents opportunities, but also great risks to
administrative law. Many complex algorithms are black
boxes, meaning no person can explain how they work.
Further, dirty data and machine code can produce
discriminatory or biased decisions that are difficult to
identify and regulate. The idea that keeping a human in the
loop will address these problems is unrealistic and short-
sighted. Therefore, this article argues that the use of Al in
administrative    decision-making      necessitates    the
development of a general duty on decision-makers to
provide reasons for their decisions. Administrative law
cannot stand still amidst the rise of artificial intelligence. A
duty to give reasons is not a silver bullet solution, but it is
an essential response to decision-making in the age of
Over the past 10 years, the use and sophistication of machine learning
algorithms have increased at a remarkable rate. We are in the midst of a
technological revolution that could either be society's greatest opportunity or
its most pressing threat.' New Zealand's public sector is not immune to this
revolution. Public   sector  agencies  are  increasingly  using  artificial
intelligence (Al) to make decisions previously made by humans. These
decisions range from the automatic approval of Accident Compensation
Corporation (ACC) claims to decisions on welfare grants, school funding
and immigration.2
These applications of Al are just the beginning. This article focuses
on machine learning algorithms that derive rules and predictions from large
swathes of data. These algorithms can be used to support human decision-
*    BA/LLB(Hons), University of Auckland. The author would like to thank Professor Janet McLean
QC for her supervision and support, and Matt Bartlett for his help and inspiration.
This article was awarded the MinterEllisonRuddWatts Writing Prize for 2020.
1   Yuval Noah Harari Why Technology Favors Tyranny The Atlantic (online ed, New York,
October 2018).
2    Stats NZAlgorithm Assessment Report (October 2018) at 36-38.

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