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Public sector bodies must be more open about their use of algorithms in making decisions, ministers have been told.
A government advisory body said greater transparency and accountability was needed in all walks of life over the use of computer-based models in policy.
Officials must understand algorithms' limits and risks of bias, the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation said.
Boris Johnson blamed a "mutant" algorithm for the chaos over school grades in England this summer.
Ofqual and other exam regulators across the UK were forced to back down following a public outcry over the use of a computer program to determine A-level and GCSE grades after the cancellation of exams.
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The regulator's chief executive resigned after the algorithm used to "moderate" marks submitted by schools and grading centres resulted in nearly 40% of them being downgraded, in some cases by more than one grade.
It was accused of breaching of anti-discrimination legislation and failing to uphold standards.