White House science advisers call for AI ‘bill of rights’

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Two of the White House’s top science advisers called for an artificial intelligence “bill of rights” in an opinion piece published Friday on Wired.

President BidenJoe BidenMcConnell vows GOP won’t help raise debt ceiling in December after Schumer ‘tantrum’ Ilhan Omar to Biden: ‘Deliver on your promise to cancel student debt’ Overnight Health Care — Presented by EMAA — CDC sets panel meeting for remaining boosters, Pfizer vaccine for kids MORE’s chief science adviser, Eric LanderEric LanderHillicon Valley — Presented by American Edge Project — Americans blame politicians, social media for spread of misinformation: poll White House science advisers call for AI ‘bill of rights’ Overnight Health Care — White House proposes B strategy for pandemic preparedness MORE, and the deputy director for science and society, Alondra Nelson, cautioned of the risks posed by technologies like facial recognition, automated translators and medical diagnosis algorithms.

Critics of the technology have said that the tools depend on data sets that are often biased in ways that replicate and amplify existing societal biases.

“Data sets that fail to represent American society can result in virtual assistants that don’t understand Southern accents; facial recognition technology that leads to wrongful, discriminatory arrests; and health care algorithms that discount the severity of kidney disease in African Americans, preventing people from getting kidney transplants,” Lander and Nelson wrote.

The two also cautioned about the potential security and privacy risks from the internet-enabled devices, from smart speakers to webcams. 

The influential advisers called for a set of rules using the Bill of Rights as a template to ensure that emerging technologies respect democratic values and treat everyone fairly.

“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 op-ed was published the same day that the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy launched a fact-finding mission to investigate biometric technologies that analyze human features to make recommendations.

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