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White House Publishes AI Guidance, Voluntary ‘Bill of Rights’

The Biden-Harris administration's Office of Science and Technology Policy has released new guidance on the use of artificial intelligence with the hope of better protecting citizens' rights.

The Biden-Harris administration’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) yesterday released a blueprint for an “AI Bill of Rights.” At its core, the document serves as a voluntary guide detailing how to responsibly deploy artificial intelligence to protect the rights of citizens.

The blueprint notes concerns associated with technology, including exclusionary hiring and health care and credit practices, as well as the potential to unjustly tracking individuals online and through social media platforms.

Using automated systems to surveil workplaces, schools and in the law enforcement space were also areas of concern.

“The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights is for everyone who interacts daily with these powerful technologies — and every person whose life has been altered by unaccountable algorithms,” said Alondra Nelson, OSTP’s deputy director for science and society, in a release. “The practices laid out in the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights aren’t just aspirational; they are achievable and urgently necessary to build technologies and a society that works for all of us.”

The blueprint also noted potential benefits of the technology, which included helping farmers grow food more efficiently, better tracking and predicting storms and more easily identifying diseases.

As such, the Office of Science and Technology Policy lists five “core protections” to consider when implementing the AI technology. These include:
  • Safe and Effective Systems — As its name suggests, this concept aims to protect individuals against unsafe or ineffective systems.
  • Algorithmic Discrimination Protections — This concept would shield against discrimination by algorithms and ensure that systems are used and designed equitably.
  • Data Privacy — This addresses abusive data practices through built-in protections and provides users with information about how others use their data.
  • Notice and Explanation — Alerts individuals when an automated system is being used and how it impacts them.
  • Alternative Options — This focuses on individuals opting out, where appropriate, and having access to someone who can quickly consider and remedy problems they might encounter during this process.

The guidelines could also be used to help tackle different forms of discrimination and harm associated with AI technology, according to White House Domestic Policy Adviser Susan Rice.

“Taken together, these actions will help tackle algorithmic discrimination and address the harms of automated systems on underserved communities,” Rice said in a release.

At the end of the day, however, these voluntary guidelines only work if those developing AI and automated systems choose to implement them.