Four federal agencies recently issued a joint statement declaring their resolve to act against bias and discrimination arising from the use of automated systems and artificial intelligence.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission made their intentions known to private enterprises.
The agencies say they will jointly seek to ensure AI does not violate individual rights and regulatory compliance regarding civil rights, equal employment opportunity, fair competition, and consumer protection.
“Employers, healthcare providers and technology developers, among others, should monitor updates to federal, state and foreign regulation of automated systems; and assess their organizations’ intentional and inadvertent use of AI to comply with regulations and ensure best practice,” warn attorneys from the law firm of McGuireWoods.
The four agencies assert that more public and private organizations are using these automated systems to make “critical decisions that can impact individuals’ rights and opportunities, including fair and equal access to a job, housing, credit opportunities, and other goods and services.”
They pointed out that “Although many of these tools offer the promise of advancement, their use also has the potential to perpetuate unlawful bias, automate unlawful discrimination, and produce other harmful outcomes.”
The agencies explained that automated systems and AI depend upon large data sets to identify patterns, perform tasks, and make predictions. If the underlying data set is unrepresentative, the system could produce biased and discriminatory results.
The lack of transparency in some automated systems may further complicate the issue, making it difficult for users to identify potential bias or discrimination in outcomes, the agencies said.