“There are things that we can use AI for that will really benefit people, but there are lots of ways that AI can harm people and maintain inequalities and discrimination that we’ve seen for our entire history,” expressed Lisa Rice, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance.
While key federal regulators have stated decades-old anti-discrimination laws and other protections can be utilized to monitor some aspects of artificial intelligence, Congress has struggled to promote proposals for new licensing and liability systems for AI models and requirements focused on transparency and kids’ safety.
“The average layperson out there doesn’t know what are the limits of this technology?” inquired Apostol Vassilev, a research team supervisor focusing on AI at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. “What are the possible avenues for failure and how these failures may actually affect your life?”
Here’s how AI is already affecting …
How people obtain a job…
AI has already influenced hiring, particularly at employers using a video interview tool.
Hiring technology these days isn’t just screening for keywords on resumes — it’s using powerful language processing tools to analyze candidates’ answers to written and video interview questions, said Lindsey Zuloaga, chief data scientist at HireVue, an AI-driven human resources company known for its video interviewing tools.
There may come a point when human interviewers will become obsolete for some types of jobs, especially in high turnover industries like fast food, Zuloaga said.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the small agency tasked with enforcing workplace civil rights, is closely monitoring developments in the technology. It has issued guidance clarifying that anti-discrimination laws still apply — and employers can still be held liable for violations — even when AIs assist in decision making. It hasn’t put out new regulations, however.
New York last year implemented a mandate of transparency and annual audits for potential bias in automated hiring decisions, though the shape of those reviews is still being carved out.
EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows previously told POLITICO that rulemaking at her agency was still under consideration; however, Republican member Keith Sonderling has said issues such as AI hiring disclosures may be left up to employers and state and local governments.
The agency’s general counsel, Karla Gilbride, told reporters in January that her office is looking specifically for cases of AI discrimination as part of its enforcement plan for the next several years. Citing the agency’s previous guidance, she said potential areas of risk include AI that discriminates against job applicants with disabilities.
“It is a developing landscape,” Gilbride said. “It is something that not just the EEOC, but I think the nation and the world as a whole is still sort of adjusting to.”
Steven Overly contributed to this report.