This article is part of a series on AI for Boards of Directors.
As AI grows in impact in the business world, the US Government is finally wading in to influence the future of regulation.
Businesses have significant challenges effectively operating in a regulatory free-for-all world. Companies actually want some regulation. As mentioned in “Why Are Technology Companies Quitting Facial Recognition?”, the providers of AI solutions want federal regulations because, in the absence of leadership at the federal level, states and municipalities will create those regulations. This makes it nearly impossible for a technology vendor to address hundreds of permutations of similar-but-different laws.
Furthermore, the board of directors needs to govern what their company is doing with AI. Without federal regulation, the risk of running afoul of a particular regulation in one locale becomes very high. Facebook paid a $650 million settlement to the state of Illinois for allegedly violating a biometric law.
The EU is making significant strides toward AI regulation and is taking the lead in the western world. (see The EU Is Regulating Your AI. Five Ways To Prepare Now.) The EU has laid out a framework for AI regulation. Armed with this framework, companies can now lobby to ensure any regulation balances the needs of the individual with the needs of the corporation.
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Recently, the White House has published a document to open a discussion about a Bill of Rights in an AI-Powered World. This article summarizes that document.
AI is becoming more and more critical for winning companies. As businesses roll out AI-based solutions, they gain a competitive advantage (see McKinsey: Winning Companies Are Increasing Their Investment In AI During Covid-19. What Do They Know That You Don’t?) According to McKinsey, the top 10% of companies that had adopted AI reported a greater than 10% increase in revenues.
AI solutions are Not Perfect
AI has many potential biases that can result in poor results, discrimination, and other problems. (see How AI Can Go Terribly Wrong: 5 Biases That Create Failure). No matter the source of these biases, the result is bad for the company or the consumer.
Any way you look at it, our lives will be significantly impacted by what AI decides to do or not do. The challenge is that consumers are not aware of the impact AI is having on their lives, and very little exists today to protect them (see Consumer Protection and AI—7 Expert Tips To Stay Out Of Trouble)
Ways AI-Based Systems Can Negatively Impact People’s Lives
Imagine if you were negatively impacted by an AI-based system like people in the following situations:
● Wrongful arrest from faulty facial recognition systems
● Denied a job from resume evaluation systems
● Incorrectly recommended medical procedures
● Denied a loan due to incorrect assumptions about credit-worthiness
These examples of people who are discriminated against or companies that suffer from poor recommendations from AI-based systems can all be addressed.
Details of the AI Bill of Rights Proposal
The White House is proposing a Bill of Rights to guard against these problems and ensure AI systems do not harm the people. Some ideas they are beginning to discuss include:
● A right to meaningful recourse should an algorithm’s recommendations harm you
● Freedom from surveillance (voice-activated systems, computer-usage monitoring systems, facial recognition, etc.)
● Freedom from being subjected to AI decisions made from biased data sets
● A right to know when AI is impacting your civil liberties
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is commencing engagement with everyone. They want to hear from regular citizens, the private sector, academia, and government.
Curiously, this policy-making focuses on two areas (although they are not excluding other areas). The first is biometric systems which include tracking voice, gestures, heart rate, facial expressions, and more. The second is software used for hiring.
The White House is taking its first tentative steps toward what is likely to become a Bill of Rights for anyone involved in AI. To participate, start by emailing the White House at email@example.com.