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What businesses need to know about AI rights

Artificial intelligence

A “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights” has been published by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The framework, which is only guidance at this time, applies to the use of automated technology that impacts someone’s “rights, opportunities or access to critical resources.”

The document outlines a set of voluntary guidelines that companies using artificial intelligence (AI) can follow to protect users. The blueprint outlines five overarching principles:

  1. Users should be protected from “unsafe or ineffective systems.”
  2. Systems should be used and designed in an equitable way so as to not contribute to discrimination.
  3. Companies should develop built-in protections against abusive data practices and provide users with “agency” over how their data is used.
  4. Users should know when an automated system is in use and how it impacts them.
  5. When appropriate, users should have the option to opt out and access human assistance.

The issue is not just one of consumer protection. Many businesses use AI and predictive algorithms to make employment-related decisions. While AI can streamline hiring processes and potentially reduce hiring discrimination, the technology also has the potential to replicate human bias.

Earlier this year, both the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued guidance outlining how AI and other automated hiring tools could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Meanwhile, at least 16 states have introduced bills or resolutions addressing AI in the workplace, and a law regulating “automated employment decision tools” will go into effect in New York City in 2023.

The White House “blueprint” builds on an executive order issued during the Trump administration and generally aligns with principles released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a member-state organization designed to promote global economic cooperation.