Appendix C: AI Risk Management and Human-AI Interaction

Organizations that design, develop, or deploy AI systems for use in operational settings may enhance their AI risk management by understanding current limitations of human-AI interaction. The AI RMF provides opportunities to clearly define and differentiate the various human roles and responsibilities when using, interacting with, or managing AI systems.

Many of the data-driven approaches that AI systems rely on attempt to convert or represent individual and social observational and decision-making practices into measurable quantities. Representing complex human phenomena with mathematical models can come at the cost of removing necessary context. This loss of context may in turn make it difficult to understand individual and societal impacts that are key to AI risk management efforts.

Issues that merit further consideration and research include:

  1. Human roles and responsibilities in decision making and overseeing AI systems need to be clearly defined and differentiated. Human-AI configurations can span from fully autonomous to fully manual. AI systems can autonomously make decisions, defer decision making to a human expert, or be used by a human decision maker as an additional opinion. Some AI systems may not require human oversight, such as models used to improve video compression. Other systems may specifically require human oversight.

  2. Decisions that go into the design, development, deployment, evaluation, and use of AI systems reflect systemic and human cognitive biases. AI actors bring their cognitive biases, both individual and group, into the process. Biases can stem from end-user decision-making tasks and be introduced across the AI lifecycle via human assumptions, expectations, and decisions during design and modeling tasks. These biases, which are not necessarily always harmful, may be exacerbated by AI system opacity and the resulting lack of transparency. Systemic biases at the organizational level can influence how teams are structured and who controls the decision-making processes throughout the AI lifecycle. These biases can also influence downstream decisions by end users, decision makers, and policy makers and may lead to negative impacts.

  3. Human-AI interaction results vary. Under certain conditions – for example, in perceptual-based judgment tasks – the AI part of the human-AI interaction can amplify human biases, leading to more biased decisions than the AI or human alone. When these variations are judiciously taken into account in organizing human-AI teams, however, they can result in complementarity and improved overall performance.

  4. Presenting AI system information to humans is complex. Humans perceive and derive meaning from AI system output and explanations in different ways, reflecting different individual preferences, traits, and skills.

The govern function provides organizations with the opportunity to clarify and define the roles and responsibilities for the humans in the Human-AI team configurations and those who are overseeing the AI system performance. The govern function also creates mechanisms for organizations to make their decision-making processes more explicit, to help counter systemic biases.

The map function suggests opportunities to define and document processes for operator and practitioner proficiency with AI system performance and trustworthiness concepts, and to define relevant technical standards and certifications. Implementing map function categories and subcategories may help organizations improve their internal competency for analyzing context, identifying procedural and system limitations, exploring and examining impacts of AI-based systems in the real world, and evaluating decision-making processes throughout the AI lifecycle.

The govern and map functions describe the importance of interdisciplinarity and demographically diverse teams and utilizing feedback from potentially impacted individuals and communities. AI actors called out in the AI RMF who perform human factors tasks and activities can assist technical teams by anchoring in design and development practices to user intentions and representatives of the broader AI community, and societal values. These actors further help to incorporate context-specific norms and values in system design and evaluate end user experiences – in conjunction with AI systems.

AI risk management approaches for human-AI configurations will be augmented by ongoing research and evaluation. For example, the degree to which humans are empowered and incentivized to challenge AI system output requires further studies. Data about the frequency and rationale with which humans overrule AI system output in deployed systems may be useful to collect and analyze.