Heather Broomfield is employed as a Senior Adviser in the Norwegian Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi).
She is currently working on a ph.d. project entitled "Government by Algorithm - Protecting Democratic Values in the Deployment of Artificial Intelligence by the Public Sector" (2019-2023)
The project is funded 50% by the Norwegian Research Council under the public sector Ph.D programme and 50% from Difi.
The Department of Public and International Law is the academic partner in the project. Professor Malcolm Langford is her main supervisor.
Project description (abstract)
The Norwegian public sector enjoys high levels of trust from citizens - built upon a system where democratic values of freedom, equality and transparency are paramount. The sector is undergoing a profound digital transformation. A central pillar of this transformation is the realisation of a data driven Government, which the OECD has identified as an apparently untapped opportunity, given Norways’ highly digitised status. Tapping this opportunity is now clearly on the agenda for Government, with an an increasingly evident sense of urgency.
The adoption of Artificial Intelligence(AI) within the private sector exemplifies that whilst the benefits are potentially considerable, it is increasingly clear that not all applications nor indeed the consequences are wholly desirable. Maximising the benefits and avoiding the pitfalls here has brought the challenge of algorithmic governance to the fore. Whilst the public sector shares many governance challenges with the private sector, ethical and conscientious implementation of AI is more complex. Ensuring that democratic values are maintained, whilst reaping the benefits of ‘data driven government’ and herein the adoption of AI in the public sector sphere requires deep deliberation.
The main objective of this project is to critically interrogate the potential benefits and pitfalls of Artificial Intelligence deployment in the Norwegian public sector and consider what appropriate governance measures could be employed, to ensure the realisation of a responsible data driven Government.