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Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation launches hiring spree

The UK’s Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) has embarked on a major hiring spree as it attempts to rapidly grow its team of policy experts.

The government launched the centre less than two years ago in a bid to create new governance structures for data-driven technologies including artificial intelligence.

The centre made a number of high profile policy hires when it launched in 2018, including appointing the deputy director of DCMS’s digital charter project, Ollie Buckley, as executive director.

It has now begun advertising for at least 16 positions spanning seven categories, including policy, strategy and operations.

In its first 18 months, the CDEI has been tasked with examining a number of potentially problematic applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Last March, it announced plans to investigate the potential for bias in algorithms used to make decisions in crime and justice, financial services, recruitment and local government.

As NS Tech and the New Statesman revealed last year, local councils across the UK spent around £2m on contracts with the credit-scoring firm Experian, in a bid to profile residents.

But there are fears that such services are being used to cut front line staff and manage the distribution of welfare without the knowledge of the citizens who are being profiled.

When the CDEI launched its investigation in 2019, its chair Roger Taylor said: “We want to work with organisations so they can maximise the benefits of data driven technology and use it to ensure the decisions they make are fair. As a first step we will be exploring the potential for bias in key sectors where the decisions made by algorithms can have a big impact on people’s lives.”

The deadline for applications is 11:55pm on 20 January 2020.