‍Unconscious AI Bias: How to Audit Your Company with Holistic AI

August 2, 2023
Authored by
Adam Williams
Content Writer at Holistic AI
‍Unconscious AI Bias: How to Audit Your Company with Holistic AI

Unconscious bias was once considered a uniquely human trait — and as such, debates around its impact were largely confined to the spheres of psychology, sociology, and statistics. But as the proliferation of AI has unfolded and its use cases have boomed, those at the forefront of another field, machine learning, are now asking a crucial question: how can we audit AI systems to ensure fairness and equality?

Holistic AI, pioneers in the domain of AI auditing, champion a meticulous process, drawing on an unrivalled depth of experience to deliver an audit solution within two weeks of data receipt.

Why AI bias audits are necessary

The equation is, in fact, pretty straightforward – biased training data leads to biased outcomes, with real-world human consequences. This alone poses significant ethical challenges, and that is before we begin to examine the legal, financial and reputational threats associated with biased AI systems.

Curbing AI bias has taken on another layer of significance in light of new legislation such as New York City Local Law 144, which requires all automated systems used in recruitment and promotion processes to be assessed for bias. While New York is currently the standard-bearer in this field, more jurisdictions are expected to follow suit with similar legislation.

Why partner with Holistic AI for an AI bias audit?

Holistic AI takes a five-pronged approach to bias auditing, focusing on five key risk verticals, namely bias, efficacy, robustness, explainability and privacy. The aim is to tackle unconscious bias head on by identifying it within your AI systems, giving organisations a platform to implement suitable mitigation strategies.

Our bias audit solution sketches out a roadmap towards compliance with industry regulations and standards, and the ongoing assurance stage acts as a platform to navigate the twists and turns of any future legislative changes.

Understanding the AI bias audit process: from algorithmic analysis to assurance

Conducting a bias audit involves the exhaustive evaluation of the algorithms used in an AI system.

We begin with the Triage stage, essentially a birds-eye view of your AI inventory, its component parts and their respective functions. This stage is all about mapping the landscape and understanding where bias could potentially surface.

Next, the Assessment stage, the beating heart of the AI auditing process wherein we examine your organisation's AI systems for unconscious bias. We pay close attention to your system's performance, investigating any disparities in terms of how it handles various groups, considering factors such as age, gender and ethnicity, for example.

Following the Assessment, we embark on the Mitigation phase. Here, we provide tailored strategies to reduce any identified biases and improve AI fairness. Strategies may include adjustments to the training data or the AI models, while modifications to system governance and documentation may also be proposed.

In the final Assurance phase, we share our judgement on the AI system's consistency with recognised benchmarks, best practices and – crucially – regulations. This assessment contributes to enhancing trust in your AI technologies by illustrating their potential for fair and impartial operation.

Beyond the audit: how we deliver our solution

At Holistic AI, we’re committed to delivering comprehensive AI bias audits for your AI systems, reinforcing transparency and compliance with AI fairness regulations.

Once the AI bias audit is complete, we create a detailed third-party report. This audit document encapsulates insights about your audited AI systems, shines a light on any detected algorithmic biases, and provides potential ways to mitigate these biases or maintain ongoing compliance.

Beyond the audit, we offer consistent guidance and insights, courtesy of our seasoned experts across the machine learning, data science, and policy sectors. This forward-thinking approach is vital in giving you the methods to ensure your AI tools remain flexible and aligned with an ever-changing regulatory terrain and best practices in AI fairness.

Furthermore, we bridge the communication gap with stakeholders. Our team translates the audit results into easy-to-understand language, fostering transparency within your AI inventory and keeping stakeholders informed about your AI bias audit and efforts to reduce unconscious bias.

Algorithmic auditing: What you need to do reduce unconscious bias

Engaging Holistic AI for an AI bias audit is a straightforward exercise – and you can start by scheduling a call. After establishing your needs, we'll kick off the process with an in-depth project briefing, involving all pertinent parties. As a client, your role would be to equip us with the necessary algorithmic details and data sets, ensuring we have a well-rounded comprehension of your AI's role in the hiring process and its function. We uphold an open line of communication throughout the AI audit, catering for any required clarifications or updates, promising a smooth audit process tailored to your unique needs.

DISCLAIMER: This blog article is for informational purposes only. This blog article is not intended to, and does not, provide legal advice or a legal opinion. It is not a do-it-yourself guide to resolving legal issues or handling litigation. This blog article is not a substitute for experienced legal counsel and does not provide legal advice regarding any situation or employer.

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