White House launches AI 'Bill of Rights’

The US government has unveiled new guidelines that it says aim to protect the public from the harmful effects of AI algorithms.

The administration of US president Joe Biden unveiled the guidelines that it said were aimed at averting harm caused by the rise of AI systems, and included guidelines on how to protect people’s personal data and limit surveillance.

Known as the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights, the white paper is part of efforts by the Biden administration to hold technology companies more accountable, according to an Associated Press report.

The document highlighted various federal agencies’ commitments to weighing new rules and studying the specific impacts of AI technologies as well as putting forward five core principles that the White House says should be built into AI systems to limit the impacts of algorithmic bias.

Highlighting concerns about algorithmic bias, the white paper cited studies and news reports, including facial recognition tools that contributed to wrongful arrests and an automated system that discriminated against loan seekers who went to historically black academic institutions.

However, the white paper has no power over tech companies that develop the tools nor does it include any new legislative proposals. The White House instead described it as “a call to action”.

“This is the Biden-Harris administration really saying that we need to work together, not only just across government, but across all sectors, to really put equity at the center and civil rights at the center of the ways that we make and use and govern technologies,” said Alondra Nelson, deputy director for science and society at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

“We can and should expect better and demand better from our technologies.”