Analyzing the AI Bill of Rights

James Grieco
James Grieco
Oct 12, 2023
min read
Analyzing the AI Bill of Rights

With technology and AI advancing so rapidly, the United States finds itself at a pivotal juncture. The country is already lagging behind many others due to the lack of a comprehensive data protection regulation, and now faces the challenge of keeping up with the complex landscape of artificial intelligence (AI).

In late 2022, the White House proposed a Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights to guide and put protections in place as AI technology continues to evolve. Checking in at over 70 pages, it is a thorough look into the needs of regulating a technological sphere capable of things people could only imagine a decade ago.

The blueprint highlights five areas where protections and considerations are needed, with the following one-sentence summaries:

  • Safe & Effective Systems: You should be protected from unsafe or ineffective systems
  • Algorithmic Discrimination Protections: You should not face discrimination by algorithms and systems should be used and designed inan equitable way
  • Data Privacy: You should be protected from abusive data practices via built-in protections and you should have agency over how data about you is used
  • Notice and Explanation: You should know that an automated system is being used and understand how and why itcontributes to outcomes that impact you
  • Human Alternatives, Consideration, and Feedback: You should be able to opt out, where appropriate, and have access to a person who can quicklyconsider and remedy problems you encounter.

The Need for an AI Bill of Rights

The necessity for an AI Bill of Rights arises from the ever-expanding influence of artificial intelligence in our lives. With ChatGPT and more systems to come, AI has infiltrated our daily existence, impacting our work, leisure, and personal choices. From predictive algorithms shaping our social media feeds to autonomous systems affecting our job prospects, AI wields significant power. As AI-driven technologies become increasingly integrated into society, it is paramount to establish a framework that ensures ethical and responsible use of AI.

AI systems can and often are biased, perpetuating discrimination that has real privacy harms for people. Biased algorithms in employment screening, discriminatory lending practices, and automated decision-making processes highlight the potential for serious harm when AI operates without oversight. An AI Bill of Rights would offer a comprehensive set of principles that promote fairness, transparency, and accountability, addressing these concerns head-on.

Enforcing an AI Bill of Rights

It is of note that the White House used the word blueprint here, outlining every category with what "should" be true. But make no mistake, the government plays a pivotal role in enforcing an AI Bill of Rights. Effective enforcement requires a multi-faceted approach involving both legislative and regulatory bodies, both of which the country has largely failed at regarding data privacy, one of the pillars of the document.

As the EU is set to unveil a groundbreaking AI regulation in 2024, the U.S. must also work quickly to create a clear and robust legal framework that defines the rights and responsibilities of AI developers and users, with a particular emphasis on what developers explicitly can and cannot do.

The bill must establish legitimately devastating penalties for unethical practices, discrimination, and breaches of data privacy, holding AI developers and companies accountable for their actions. It should also ensure that the AI systems undergo rigorous testing to minimize biases and discrimination. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other relevant agencies should be empowered to conduct audits, investigations, and impose penalties on entities found in violation without needing to justify investigations through decades old laws that were clearly not written with AI in mind.

As noted in the blueprint, objective third party watchdogs should be created and tasked with monitoring and overseeing AI technologies, ensuring compliance with the bill's provisions without burdening government with those tasks (especially given how slow the U.S. government has been to respond and regulate modern day technologies). This involves continuous scrutiny of AI algorithms, assessing their impact on individuals and society. Regulatory authorities should also encourage transparency and the disclosure of how AI-driven decisions are made, empowering consumers to make informed choices.

Data Privacy and AI

Data privacy is the foundation upon which any effective AI regulation stands. The misuse or abuse of personal data is at the core of many AI-related controversies. When individuals' data is collected and processed without their informed consent, it not only erodes trust but also creates fertile ground for biases and discrimination to flourish.

The United States does have some state-level regulations aimed at safeguarding data privacy, but those have not proven to be enough. These laws need to be more strictly enforced and integrated into the AI regulatory framework. Data protection should be at the heart of any AI Bill of Rights.

Personal data should be treated as a sacred trust, and individuals should have control over their data, including the right to know how it is used and the ability to opt out. Additionally, AI systems must not be allowed to perpetuate biases based on personal information. The government should ensure that data collected and used for AI is anonymized, and companies must be transparent about how they use personal data to train their AI models.

In a rapidly evolving technological landscape, the United States is at risk of falling behind the curve. To ensure a free and fair internet, the proposed AI Bill of Rights is essential. It provides a necessary framework to regulate AI, ensuring transparency, fairness, and accountability in the development and use of these technologies.

The government's role in enforcing this bill is critical. It involves creating comprehensive legislation that defines the rights and responsibilities of AI stakeholders while empowering regulatory bodies to monitor compliance and impose penalties where necessary.

Data privacy is the linchpin in this endeavor, serving as the foundation upon which effective AI regulation is built. Strict enforcement of existing data privacy laws and their integration into the AI regulatory framework is vital for safeguarding individuals' rights and preventing the misuse of personal data.

If the U.S. wants to maintain its status as a global technology leader and protect the rights and privacy of its citizens, blueprints will not do it much good. It needs to take action and pass an AI Bill of Rights and regulations that protect citizens from the consequences of bad AI development. By combining robust regulation and the stringent enforcement of data privacy laws, the government can pave the way for a free, ethical, and equitable internet where innovation coexists with individual rights and the release of a new AI product brings excitement instead of concern.