US federal agencies vow to uphold fairness and equity in AI systems amid growing concerns

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As automated systems, especially artificial intelligence (AI), become more prevalent in our daily lives, four federal agencies on Tuesday pledged to uphold America’s commitment to the core principles of fairness, equity and justice.

In a joint statement released today, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission outlined their commitment to enforce their respective laws and regulations to promote responsible innovation in automated systems. .

The agencies said they will work together to ensure that automated systems are designed, developed and operated in a manner that respects civil rights, fair competition, consumer protection and equal opportunity. They also said they will work with stakeholders including industry, academia, civil society and the public to promote awareness and understanding of the benefits and challenges of automated systems.

The announcement received mixed reactions from legal experts and members of the AI ​​community. The US approach to AI risk has previously been criticized for being too fragmented without any unifying principles across distributed federal agencies, especially when compared to the EU. This fragmentation has raised questions about potential challenges for international coordination and cooperation in the development and regulation of artificial intelligence.


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“I’m very disappointed,” Brad Newman, a partner at Baker and McKenzie LLP who specializes in AI issues, told VentureBeat. “It’s a nothing burger. It offers no new guidance, no new advice or insight.

“I also think it’s anti-innovation,” he added, “because it doesn’t really explain what is legal practice and what is illegal with respect to artificial intelligence. It just says that discrimination and bias are bad, but there are no specifics, nothing that is enforceable. It feels political.”

Jesse Lehrich, former foreign policy spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and co-founder of Accountable Tech, a nonprofit that aims to “restrain Big Tech,” praised the joint announcement. In tweethe said in the statement.[makes] clearly AI is not exempt from existing non-discrimination laws and enforcement.”

Former Biden administration AI adviser Suresh Venkatasubramanian also reviewed the statement favorably. He tweeted: “This is a strong statement from the heads of federal law enforcement agencies.”

The complexities and uncertainties of AI legislation

The announcement comes amid growing concerns about the potential impact of AI and automated systems on various aspects of society, such as employment, education, healthcare and criminal justice. Critics have warned that artificial intelligence, in particular, can reflect and amplify human biases, errors and prejudices, leading to unfair or harmful outcomes for individuals or groups.

The agencies have acknowledged that automated systems are not inherently neutral or objective, and that they can be influenced by the data, algorithms and human choices that shape them. They said they would use their powers and expertise to prevent and remedy any breach of the law by organizations using or providing this type of technology.

The statement also highlighted the importance of transparency, accountability and oversight in AI and automated systems, saying they are essential to building trust and confidence between consumers and the public. The agencies indicated that they will encourage and support efforts to ensure that automated systems are explainable, auditable, and responsive to feedback.

The agencies said they hope their joint statement will serve as a “call to action” for all stakeholders involved in the development and use of automated systems to uphold the values ​​of fairness, equity and justice.

“We recognize that achieving these goals will require sustained cooperation and dialogue among various actors,” the statement said. “We look forward to working with our partners across government and beyond to advance responsible innovation in automated systems for the benefit of all Americans.”

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