Numerous statements and pamphlets indicate that governments should increase the transparency of ICT-implementations and algorithms in eGovernment services and should encourage democratic control. This paper presents research among civil servants, suppliers and experts who play a role in the automation of spatial policymaking and planning (e.g. environment, building, sound and CO2 regulation, mobility). The case is a major digitalisation programme of that spatial planning in the Netherlands. In this digital transition, the research assumption is that public and political values such as transparency, legitimacy and (perceived) fairness are difficult to validate in the practice of the design process; policy makers tend to lose sight of the algorithms and decision trees designed during the ICT -implementation of eGovernment services. This situation would implicate a power shift towards the system level bureaucrat. i.e., the digitized execution of laws and regulations, thereby threatening democratic control. This also sets the stage for anxiety towards ICT projects and digital bureaucracies. We have investigated perceptions about ‘validation dark spots’ in the design process of the national planning platform that create unintended shifts in decision power in the context of the legal planning process. To identify these validation dark spots, 22 stakeholders were interviewed. The results partially confirm the assumption. Based on the collected data, nine validation dark spots are identified that require more attention and research.
Peters, Rob; Smit, Koen; and Versendaal, Johan, "Responsible AI and Power: Investigating the System Level Bureaucrat in the Legal Planning Process" (2021). BLED 2021 Proceedings. 22.