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White House Introduces Artificial Intelligence Bill of Rights


“The Biden administration unveiled a set of far-reaching goals Tuesday aimed at averting harms caused by the rise of artificial intelligence systems, including guidelines for how to protect people’s personal data and limit surveillance,” ABC News reports.

The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights directs federal agencies’ use of the technology.

The plan from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy primarily address discrimination, privacy, and safety issues, according to the Washington Times.

“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.”

The Washington Times reported:

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the blueprint released Tuesday is the foundation for guidance his department will distribute to schools to follow next year.

“While we embrace utilizing edtech to enhance learning, we recognize that it comes with additional responsibility and the need for us to change how we do business,” Mr. Cardona said at the White House. “We’re going to be releasing next year, early ‘23, a set of guidance and recommendations for schools, for 50 million students across the country.”

It is not just the Department of Education readying new directions; the Health and Human Services Department is doing likewise.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said his department is analyzing artificially intelligent systems in hopes of producing a report later this year for people in the health care sector to learn whether they are making appropriately equitable decisions.

“We know that for the most part the folks who are left out of the health care system are low-income and people of color, and so if you use data that you have an abundance of, you probably are leaving out the most key elements and targeting everyone,” Mr. Becerra said at the White House. “At HHS, we’re doing work right now on equity essentially by design and we’re doing an analysis of what AI systems are out there and what they really mean to us.”

While some officials prepare new directives, some parts of the Biden Administration have already made changes to the government’s use of AI.

“For example, the blueprint published Tuesday said the Transportation Security Administration is implementing a “gender-neutral algorithm” for its body-scanner operators to use at airport security checkpoints in response to complaints from transgender people,” the Washington Times noted.

“Body scanners, used by TSA at airport checkpoints, require the operator to select a “male” or “female” scanning setting based on the passenger’s sex, but the setting is chosen based on the operator’s perception of the passenger’s gender identity,” the blueprint said.

“These scanners are more likely to flag transgender travelers as requiring extra screening done by a person. Transgender travelers have described degrading experiences associated with these extra screenings.”

ABC News added:

The office said the white paper represents a major advance in the administration’s agenda to hold technology companies accountable, and highlighted various federal agencies’ commitments to weighing new rules and studying the specific impacts of AI technologies. The document emerged after a year-long consultation with more than two dozen different departments, and also incorporates feedback from civil society groups, technologists, industry researchers and tech companies including Palantir and Microsoft.

It puts forward five core principles that the White House says should be built into AI systems to limit the impacts of algorithmic bias, give users control over their data and ensure that automated systems are used safely and transparently.

The non-binding principles cite academic research, agency studies and news reports that have documented real-world harms from AI-powered tools, including facial recognition tools that contributed to wrongful arrests and an automated system that discriminated against loan seekers who attended a Historically Black College or University.

The white paper also said parents and social workers alike could benefit from knowing if child welfare agencies were using algorithms to help decide when families should be investigated for maltreatment.

Read the full White House release HERE.


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