White House Proposes A Tech 'Bill Of Rights' To Limit AI's Negative Effects

European regulators have already taken steps to limit the most dangerous AI uses that may endanger people's safety or rights.

White House Proposes A Tech 'Bill Of Rights' To Limit AI's Negative Effects
White House Proposes A Tech 'Bill Of Rights' To Limit AI's Negative Effects

President Joe Biden's top science advisers are proposing a new "bill of rights" to protect against the threat of strong new artificial intelligence technology. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy started a fact-finding expedition on Friday to investigate facial recognition and other biometric capabilities used to identify people or assess their emotional, mental, and character states.

Eric Lander, Biden's main science adviser, and Alondra Nelson, Biden's deputy director for science and society, wrote an opinion piece for Wired magazine about the need for new safeguards against incorrect and harmful uses of AI that can unfairly discriminate against people or violate their privacy. 

“Calculating the rights is only the first step,” says the author "they penned "What can we do to keep them safe?" The federal government might refuse to buy software or technology items that violate these rights, or it could require federal contractors to employ technologies that comply with this 'bill of rights,' or it could pass new laws and regulations to fill in the gaps." This isn't the first time the Biden administration has expressed alarm about AI's potential for harm, but it is one of the clearest moves toward taking action. 

European regulators have already taken steps to limit the most dangerous AI uses that may endanger people's safety or rights. Though none of the EU's countries is bound by Tuesday's vote, which called for new laws prohibiting law enforcement from scanning facial features in public settings, legislators in the European Parliament took a step this week in favour of banning biometric mass monitoring.

Political leaders in Western democracies have said they want to balance a desire to tap into AI's economic and societal potential while addressing growing concerns about the reliability of tools that can track and profile individuals and make recommendations about who gets access to jobs, loans and educational opportunities.AI developers, specialists, and anybody who has been affected by biometric data collecting are invited to respond in a government document filed Friday. 

The software trade association BSA, which is backed by Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and Salesforce, said it applauded the White House's focus on AI bias, but it is pushing for a policy that would require companies to assess the risks of their AI applications and then demonstrate how they will mitigate those risks. "It enables the positive that everyone sees in AI while minimising the potential of discrimination and bias perpetuation," said Aaron Cooper, the group's vice president of global policy.