White House Unveils AI 'Bill of Rights' Plan

Progress 'must not come at the price of civil rights or democratic values'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2022 2:41 PM CDT
White House Unveils AI 'Bill of Rights' Plan
"Too often, these tools are used to limit our opportunities and prevent our access to critical resources or services," the White House said.   (Getty Images/jiefeng jiang)

The White House rolled out a proposal for an artificial intelligence Bill of Rights Tuesday, saying that while automated systems have "brought about extraordinary benefits," progress "must not come at the price of civil rights or democratic values." The blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy lists five principles that should be built into AI systems to protect the public from discrimination and violations of privacy, Axios reports. The White House warned that automated systems including those used for patient care "have proven unsafe, ineffective, or biased," and algorithms used in hiring decisions have been found to "reflect and reproduce existing unwanted inequities or embed new harmful bias and discrimination."

The principles state that Americans should know when automated decision-making is being used and they should be able to opt out. They state that algorithmic bias should be limited and users should be given control of their data. The White House said the document was released after a yearlong consultation with two dozen government departments, as well as tech companies and civil society groups, the AP reports. The proposals are nonbinding and government regulation of artificial intelligence remains "minimal or nonexistent," Axios notes, though numerous other sets of AI guidelines exist, including EU guidelines released in 2019 and an "algor-ethical" proposal the Vatican released in 2020. Companies including IBM have released their own ethical guidelines.

"This is the White House saying that workers, students, consumers, communities, everyone in this country should expect and demand better from our technologies," Alondra Nelson, OSTP deputy director for science and society, tells Wired. Nelson says the blueprint is "really just a down payment" on moves to limit harmful AI, though critics say the proposal should have included a framework to hold people and companies responsible for abusive AI practices. The US Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, warned that if some of the recommendations become law, it will "handcuff America’s ability to compete on the global stage," reports Reuters. (Read more artificial intelligence stories.)

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