Freedom and guardrails for Citizen X

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This article was contributed by Suzanne L., Vice President of Innovation and Emerging Technology at Unisys. Taylor did.

Many businesses today are welcoming the rise of their Citizen X: those ordinary citizens who are keen or concerned about a particular discipline, who have the power to collaborate with professionals with their credentials to make significant contributions. The benefits of technology, where the trend is sometimes called “democratization of tech” or “no-code / low-code”, are great, but its risks must be identified and minimized.

When I was reading the National Park Service site and ordinary pedestrians were invited to become “Citizen Scientists” I first saw the rise of what I call “Citizen X” as an avid hiker. The park’s professional scientists welcomed us to contribute to their work as amateurs, suggesting how we could be helpful to them (take photos, record what plants bloom and when, what wildlife, insects or birds we saw, etc.)

Since then, I have seen the spread of Citizen X in many branches. Citizen is a designer with tools like Shutterfly and Vistaprint, which empowers even quite amateurs to make their own books or corporate logos and branding high quality and personalized.

There is Citizen Archaeologist, who has been invited to help archaeologists find artifacts before the tide and time is lost, discovering numerous treasures and historical significance. And their underwater counterpart, the civic archaeologist Underwater, a group of which is believed to have discovered the oldest known debris in Lake Erie.

Citizen physicians are tough on medical professionals, but who can deny the value of empowering ordinary citizens, also known as patients, to accelerate healthcare reform? Patients can use their smartphones to help with the diagnostic process and check their own vital signs and track their blood sugar levels. Further progress is certain with the involvement of millions of patients collaborating with doctors, medical researchers and pharmacists.

In general, it is a positive attitude. After all, a business exists for the benefit of everyone. Doctors, lawyers, masons, manicurists – all are identified for the purpose of meeting the needs of a larger community. The people they serve include individuals whose ideas and actions can propel the business forward. We know that innovation is often easier to achieve in smaller, more agile units, and that the innovation that is taking place at the grassroots level can be significantly more creative and faster – there is no small value in today’s need for speed.

Tech hazards

When it comes to technology, the Citizen X event offers rewards as well as risks.

One of the most famous examples of a citizen developer is what Gartner defines as “an employee who builds application capabilities for use by himself or others using tools not actively restricted by IT or business entities.” Not surprisingly, they find this freedom necessary for their job satisfaction. They can automate processes that make their work easier, such as completing their HR tasks or faster. They are often close to the needs of the users and know what innovations can bring value to the users and the open-source tools needed to generate it. Not only that, but they are invaluable when it comes to prototyping.

But at the same time, they tend to focus on a specific outcome and pay less attention to things that trained professional developers are anxious about. Such as: Is this software unnecessary with other people already created? Can it be shared by others who are doing the same thing? Is it built on a platform that is compatible with others? Is security embedded? Is it rigorously tested?

Limitations are required in view of the risk that Citizen Developers may not be fully compliant with the essential policies associated with security, privacy, reproducibility and protocol. IT oversight and formal governance is crucial for any company that does not allow any code / low code developers. IT needs to build and strictly monitor the underlying IT infrastructure.

Creating good governance for the work of Citizen X does not require a completely new invention – just a thoughtful adaptation of the organization’s current IT governance. It should have the same level of protocol and documentation for each item: development standards, roles and responsibilities, credentials, compliance, etc. If Citizen Apps are intended for enterprise production or client use, IT needs to ensure that the apps work properly, meet high-quality standards, make proper use of corporate branding and are especially important in today’s environment. Meets the highest security standards. There may be a loose regime for applications for prototyping or limited use, but protection is still needed to compromise with the enterprise.

With the trend towards a data-driven world, we need tools and platforms that promote Citizen Data Scientists, sometimes called Citizen AI Engineers. These platforms, tools and services accelerate the process of data usage, analysis and deployment. Leading cloud providers offer data science and AI cognitive services that enable not only professionals but also inexperienced practitioners to quickly create machine learning and natural language applications.

Given the perennial shortage of certified data scientists, this new technology is valuable. But again, the low barrier to access that these platforms provide enables people to gain access to their heads while they have the skills to fine-tune data, understand algorithms and navigate the difficulties that skilled data scientists and AI engineers will be able to navigate. Not at all. To avoid.

Disadvantages range from algorithms to algorithms that do not work as intended when deployed on real-time data, increasing costs, which can potentially be detrimental. AI and ML are not defined systems. It cannot be fully tested in the way that most other software can because it is designed to keep changing as it takes in new data in real time. They cannot be tested for every permutation they are likely to encounter, and when they are in the real world, they do not behave as expected. They should be monitored for unpredictable and unpredictable behavior.

Ethical AI is a growing discipline for good reason: at extreme times, algorithms are likely to suffer real losses as they alter or augment humans in making critical decisions. Notable examples include Amazon’s recruitment tool that was biased against women, the racially biased recovery assessment tool, and Facebook’s discriminatory advertising algorithm.

Citizen data scientists are unlikely to study in depth the evolving discipline of ethical AI and could easily produce such models if they inadvertently endanger people, offend customers, or violate standards and laws. More and more AI / ML rules and recommendations are coming out, requiring companies to issue strict guidelines and be supervised by trained data scientists and legal experts.

The Trained Data Scientist, unlike the Citizen Data Scientist, embodies a sense of responsibility for the entire life cycle of the model, protects against defective models, for example, overfitting or underfitting data, and oversees model drift to minimize or not. – Subtle changes.

Suzanne Taylor, PhD, is Vice President of Innovation and Emerging Technology at Unisys, where she focuses on applying emerging and disruptive technologies to business problems.


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