Accountability in Artificial Intelligence

The ACLU Racial Justice Program aims to preserve and extend constitutionally guaranteed rights to people who have historically been denied their rights on the basis of race

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What you need to know

99%
99% of Fortune 500 companies use AI in hiring.
$6 billion
The Federal government invested over $6 billion in AI in 2021, and that number is expected to grow through 2026.
85%
Through 2030, 85% of AI projects will provide false results caused by bias.

Artificial intelligence systems are reshaping and influencing core social domains that impact our daily lives, from criminal justice and education, to healthcare and beyond. Artificial intelligence refers to computer models, or algorithms, that mimic the cognitive functions of the human mind, such as learning and problem-solving. AI is widely used for automated decision making – analyzing massive amounts of data, finding correlations and then making predictions about future outcomes. For example, employers use AI systems to determine who to advertise job opportunities to and who to hire, and housing providers use AI to screen potential tenants. So when AI systems are developed in ways that do not adequately take into account existing racism, sexism and other inequities, built-in algorithmic bias can undermine predictive decisions and result in invisible but very real discrimination. As these systems are deployed, they exacerbate existing disparities and create new roadblocks for already-marginalized groups.

AI is built by humans and too often, racial bias can appear in its design, development, and implementation. Establishing laws and regulations that mandate robust auditing for equity, transparency, and accountability, alongside litigation to stop and remedy civil rights violations, and direct engagement with technology companies can help guarantee racial equity.

The Racial Justice Program strives to challenge AI’s power to preserve and exacerbate systemic racism. In coalition with ACLU affiliates in each state, other civil rights groups, and local advocates, we lobby in local and state legislatures and support grassroots movements to work towards building more equitable AI systems, particularly in the areas of employment, housing and credit.

Artificial intelligence systems are reshaping and influencing core social domains that impact our daily lives, from criminal justice and education, to healthcare and beyond. Artificial intelligence refers to computer models, or algorithms, that mimic the cognitive functions of the human mind, such as learning and problem-solving. AI is widely used for automated decision making – analyzing massive amounts of data, finding correlations and then making predictions about future outcomes. For example, employers use AI systems to determine who to advertise job opportunities to and who to hire, and housing providers use AI to screen potential tenants. So when AI systems are developed in ways that do not adequately take into account existing racism, sexism and other inequities, built-in algorithmic bias can undermine predictive decisions and result in invisible but very real discrimination. As these systems are deployed, they exacerbate existing disparities and create new roadblocks for already-marginalized groups.

AI is built by humans and too often, racial bias can appear in its design, development, and implementation. Establishing laws and regulations that mandate robust auditing for equity, transparency, and accountability, alongside litigation to stop and remedy civil rights violations, and direct engagement with technology companies can help guarantee racial equity.

The Racial Justice Program strives to challenge AI’s power to preserve and exacerbate systemic racism. In coalition with ACLU affiliates in each state, other civil rights groups, and local advocates, we lobby in local and state legislatures and support grassroots movements to work towards building more equitable AI systems, particularly in the areas of employment, housing and credit.

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