Algorithm-assisted decision making in the public sector: Govern algorithms, while governing by algorithms


  • Olivier Micol


  • Matthias Spielkamp
  • Cornelia Kutterer
  • Ger Baron
  • Jennifer Cobbe

Organisation: Microsoft

Room: Online 2

Timing: 14:15 - 15:30 on 28 January 2021

Governments and authorities across Europe increasingly deploy automated decision-making systems and AI-powered data analysis to provide ‘better public services’. Yet, this development has met with parallel concerns over negative and unfair outcomes for citizens, or potentially denial of consequential services altogether. This panel will discuss strategies to achieve transparent and accountable systems and mitigate these risks, both during development and deployment of Algorithm-assisted decision-making systems. The discussion will shed light on current approaches to responsible AI, including through practices, tools, standards and legislation.

• What is the role that technology companies can play in ensuring that AI is developed responsibly?
• What is the responsibility of governments when deploying algorithm-assisted decision-making tools?
• Can transparency, with regard to AI decision-making, affect public perceptions on the legitimacy of AI decisions and decision-makers?
• How can we provide transparency on algorithms in a way that it will be understood by citizens?


Olivier Micol


Olivier Micol is the head of the Data protection unit within the Directorate General for Justice and Consumers of the European Commission He joined the European Commission in 1996 where he followed in particular the bilateral trade relations between the EU and Asia for 12 years, first in the Directorate General for Trade, then in the EU Delegation in China. From 2009 to 2013, he was the deputy head of the Consumer strategy unit, and from 2013 to 2016 the head of the Financial services and redress unit in the Directorate General for Justice and Consumers.


Matthias Spielkamp

AlgorithmWatch (DE)

Matthias Spielkamp is co-founder and executive director of AlgorithmWatch (Theodor Heuss Medal 2018, Grimme Online Nominee 2019). He testified before several committees of the German Bundestag, i.e. on AI and robotics, and serves on the governing board of the German section of Reporters Without Borders. Matthias has written and edited books on digital journalism and Internet governance and was named one of 15 architects building the data-driven future by Silicon Republic in 2017. He holds master’s degrees in Journalism from the University of Colorado in Boulder and in Philosophy from the Free University of Berlin.

Cornelia Kutterer

Microsoft (BE)

Cornelia leads Microsoft’s European Rule of Law & Responsible Tech team which focuses on the impact of new technologies and regulatory frameworks that meet expectation of society. Her team covers policies such as responsible/ethical/trustworthy AI, digital safety and content regulation, privacy, lawful access, human rights and competition. Before joining Microsoft, she headed the legal department of BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation. She has also gained experience in a top 10 law firm and started her professional career in the European Parliament as a political advisor to an MEP. Cornelia is a qualified German lawyer, and holds a master’s degree in information technology and telecommunication laws.

Ger Baron

City of Amsterdam (NL)

Ger is the first CTO of the City of Amsterdam. In this role he works on innovation and digital transformation. With his team he works on almost every topic in Amsterdam making sure Amsterdam grasps the opportunity of technology, making sure that the boundaries for tech companies are clear and the city has the right capabilities.

Jennifer Cobbe

University of Cambridge (UK)

Dr Jennifer Cobbe is a Research Associate and Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Technology (Computer Laboratory) at the University of Cambridge, where she is part of the Compliant and Accountable Systems research group. She is also on the Executive Committee of Cambridge's interdisciplinary Trust & Technology Initiative, which explores the dynamics of trust and distrust around internet technologies, societies, and power. She is part of the Microsoft Cloud Computing Research Centre, and is a member of the Law Committee of the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems.