The United States President, Joe Biden may have been battling with litany of bills to assent but the new “bill of rights” to guard against powerful new artificial intelligence technology being championed by his top science advisers might be the required impetus to guide America against the dangers of AI.
The U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy had on Friday, the 8th of October 2021 began a fact-finding mission to look at facial recognition and other biometric tools used to identify people or assess their emotional or mental states and character.
Eric Lander, the Chief Science Adviser to President Biden, together with the Deputy Director for Science and Society, Alondra Nelson had in an opinion piece published on ‘Wired Magazine’ explained in details the need to develop safeguards against the harmful use of Artificial Intelligence that has the possibility of discriminating against people or have their privacy violated.
“Enumerating the rights is just a first step,” they wrote. “What might we do to protect them? Possibilities include the federal government refusing to buy software or technology products that fail to respect these rights, requiring federal contractors to use technologies that adhere to this ‘bill of rights,’ or adopting new laws and regulations to fill gaps.”
The Biden administration had in the past voiced out their concerns about harmful uses of the AI technology but this time, it has shown its hand in tackling the menace.
Authorities in Europe had already put in regulations that will curtail risky AI applications that has the tendency of threatening people’s safety and rights. The European Parliament took a further step to this effect when they earlier in the week placed a ban on biometric mass surveillance. Even though none of the bloc’s nations are bound to Tuesday’s vote that called for new rules blocking law enforcement from scanning facial features in public spaces, the new move will go a long way to push against AI dangers.
Western democracies political leaders and authorities have made it known of their intention to balance the economic and societal potential of AI while at the same time addressing how tools that track and profile individuals can be reliable and safe.
On Friday, a federal document filed and made available to the public, had sought public comments from AI developers, experts and anyone who has been affected by biometric data collection.
The software trade association BSA, with the backing of A-list companies like Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Salesforce, had said it welcomed the American government move to combat AI bias but is pushing for an approach that would require companies to do their own assessment of the risks of their AI applications and then show how they will mitigate those risks.
“It enables the good that everybody sees in AI but minimizes the risk that it’s going to lead to discrimination and perpetuate bias,” said Aaron Cooper, the group’s vice president of global policy.