The Biden administration unveiled a set of far-reaching goals Tuesday aimed at avoiding the damage caused by the rise of artificial intelligence systems, including guidelines for how to protect people’s personal data and limit surveillance.
Officials said the AI Rights Act outline does not specifically outline specific enforcement actions, but is instead intended as a White House call to action for the US government to protect digital and civil rights in a world fueled by artificial intelligence.
“This is the Biden-Harris administration that is really saying that we need to work together, not just across government, but across all sectors, to put equity center stage and civil rights at the heart of the ways we use and use them,” said Alondra Nelson, deputy director for science and society in the White House office. To science and technology policy, “Control our technologies.” “We can and should expect better and demand better from our technologies.”
The office said the white paper represented a major advance in the administration’s agenda to hold tech companies accountable, and highlighted the commitments of various federal agencies to balance the new rules and examine the specific impacts of artificial intelligence technologies. The document emerged after a year-long consultation with more than two dozen different departments, and also includes comments from civil society groups, technologists, industry researchers, and tech companies including Palantir and Microsoft.
It proposes five key principles that the White House says should be incorporated into AI systems to reduce the effects of algorithmic bias, give users control over their data and ensure automated systems are used safely and transparently.
The resulting non-binding principles cite academic research, agency studies, and news reports that have documented real-world damage from AI-powered tools, including facial recognition tools that have contributed to unlawful arrests and an automated system that discriminates against historically attended loan applicants. Black college or university.
The white paper also said parents and social workers alike could benefit from knowing whether child care agencies are using algorithms to help determine when families should be investigated for abuse.
Earlier this year after the publication of an AP review of an algorithm tool used in the Pennsylvania child care system, OSTP employees reached out to the sources cited in the article to learn more, according to several people involved in the call. An Associated Press investigation found that the Allegheny County Tool in its early years of operation showed a pattern of reporting a disproportionate number of black children for a “mandatory” investigation of neglect, compared to white children.
In May, sources said, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and workers from the American Civil Liberties Union spoke with OSTP officials about childcare agencies’ use of the algorithms. Protecting children from the harms of technology remains a concern, Nelson said.
said Nelson, who also serves as Vice Presidential Assistant Joe Biden.
OSTP did not provide further comment on the May meeting.
However, because many AI-powered tools are developed, approved, or funded at the state and local levels, the federal government has limited oversight regarding their use. The white paper made no specific mention of how the Biden administration would affect specific policies at the state or local level, but a senior administration official said the administration was exploring how to align federal grants with AI guidance.
The white paper does not have authority over the technology companies that develop the tools and does not include any new legislative proposals. Nelson said agencies will continue to use existing rules to prevent automated systems from unfairly harming people.
The white paper also did not specifically address AI-powered technologies funded by the Department of Justice, whose Civil Rights Division separately examines algorithmic harms, bias and discrimination, Nelson said.
Among the calls for more oversight, the white paper also said that when implemented appropriately, AI systems have the potential to deliver lasting benefits to society, such as helping farmers grow food more efficiently or identifying diseases.
“Backed by the power of American innovation, these tools have the potential to redefine every part of our society and make life better for all. This important progress must not come at the expense of civil rights or democratic values,” the document said.
Follow Garance Burke on Twitter at @garanceburke.