AI generally refers to the development of computer systems and algorithms to perform tasks historically requiring human intelligence. One form or type of AI is machine learning, which refers to the process by which machines use large sets of data to make better and better predictions. Some forms of AI can be used to automate certain aspects of decision-making.
The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights: Making Automated Systems Work for the American People was published by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in October 2022. This framework was released one year after the Office of Science and Technology Policy announced the launch of a process to develop “a bill of rights for an AI-powered world.” Its release follows a year of public engagement to inform this initiative. The framework is available online.
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) was established by the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Priorities Act of 1976 to provide the President and others within the Executive Office of the President with advice on the scientific, engineering, and technological aspects of the economy, national security, health, foreign relations, the environment, and the technological recovery and use of resources, among other topics.
The document commences by proclaiming that “Among the great challenges posed to democracy today is the use of technology, data, and automated systems in ways that threaten the rights of the American public. Too often, these tools are used to limit our opportunities and prevent our access to critical resources or services. These problems are well documented. In America and around the world, systems supposed to help with patient care have proven unsafe, ineffective, or biased. Algorithms used in hiring and credit decisions have been found to reflect and reproduce existing unwanted inequities or embed new harmful bias and discrimination. Unchecked social media data collection has been used to threaten people’s opportunities, undermine their privacy, or pervasively track their activity – often without their knowledge or consent.”
Thus the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has identified five principles that should guide the design, use, and deployment of automated systems to protect the American public in the age of artificial intelligence.
– – Safe and Effective Systems: People should be protected from unsafe or ineffective systems.
– – Algorithmic Discrimination Protections: People should not face discrimination by algorithms and systems should be used and designed in an equitable way.
– – Data Privacy: People should be protected from abusive data practices via built-in protections and should have agency over how data about them is used.
– – Notice and Explanation: People should know that an automated system is being used and understand how and why it contributes to outcomes that impact them.
– – Alternative Options: People should be able to opt out, where appropriate, and have access to a person who can quickly consider and remedy problems they encounter.
This framework is accompanied by a technical companion – a handbook for anyone seeking to incorporate these protections into policy and practice, including detailed steps toward actualizing these principles in the technological design process.
The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights is non-binding and does not constitute U.S. government policy. Nonetheless the White House separately announced that several federal agencies will be taking action to advance the guidelines in the Blueprint.
For example, the following is related to protecting workers.
– – To protect worker’s rights, the Department of Labor has released “What the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights Means for Workers” and is ramping up enforcement of required surveillance reporting to protect worker organizing.
– – To protect workers with disabilities, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Justice released antidiscrimination technical assistance and guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and employment algorithms in May 2022, and the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology, funded by the Department of Labor, has released the AI & Disability Inclusion Toolkit and the Equitable AI Playbook.
– – To promote equal employment opportunity, the EEOC and the Department of Labor have launched a multi-year collaborative effort to reimagine hiring and recruitment practices, including in the use of automated systems.
In addition to the action taken for protecting workers, similar action is taken by federal agencies for Protecting consumers – Protecting students and supporting educators – Protecting patients and assisting health care providers – Ensuring fair access to housing:- Leading by example and advancing democratic values – and Guiding and supporting technologists and entrepreneurs. Links in the Fact Sheet provide comprehensive details about the action taken by federal agencies on each of these additional protected areas.
Several states have also adopted similar regulations. And the California FEHC has published draft modifications to its employment anti-discrimination laws that would impose liability on companies or third-party agencies administrating artificial intelligence tools that have a discriminatory impact.