WASHINGTON — The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released its Blueprint for an Artificial Intelligence Bill of Rights guidance document today. The document consists of a set of principles and practices aimed to help guide the design, use, and deployment of artificial intelligence systems and technology across public and private sectors — from housing and employment to health care and others — in order to protect the civil rights of the American public from AI bias and other potential harms. 

The Blueprint for an Artificial Intelligence Bill of Rights covers all AI-driven technology and automated systems that have the potential to impact the American public’s civil rights and liberties, equal opportunity, or access to critical resources or services. For example, AI systems are currently used to make hiring decisions, determine who is eligible for mortgages or student loans, and make predictions about patient care. This use of AI can often worsen existing inequities and pose barriers to access for already marginalized groups. The Blueprint for an Artificial Intelligence Bill of Rights is meant to provide a roadmap of our basic protections and guarantees against these harms. 

ReNika Moore, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Racial Justice Program, had the following reaction: 

“Just as our Constitution’s Bill of Rights protects our most basic civil rights and liberties from the government, in the 21st century, we need a ‘bill of rights’ to protect us against the use of faulty and discriminatory artificial intelligence that infringes upon our core rights and freedoms. We commend the Biden administration on this step toward ensuring that AI systems don’t erode our rights.

“Unchecked, artificial intelligence exacerbates existing disparities and creates new roadblocks for already-marginalized groups, including communities of color and people with disabilities. When AI is developed or used in ways that don’t adequately take into account existing inequities or is used to make decisions for which it is inappropriate, we see real-life harms such as biased, harmful predictions leading to the wrongful arrest of Black people, jobs unfairly denied to women, and disparate targeting of children of color for removal from their families. The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights is an important step in addressing the harms of AI.

“It’s critical that the Biden administration use all levers available to make the promises of the Bill of Rights blueprint a reality. We are encouraged to see the administration announce some concrete steps by agencies and we urge the administration to commit to more concrete enforcement efforts, regulation, and oversight across the federal government to make the rights in the blueprint real. Equally important, there should be no loopholes or carve-outs for these protections. The federal government must enforce these rights in the law enforcement and national security contexts, where the harms to people from automated systems are well-documented and more common and severe for marginalized groups, and where people’s liberty and due process rights are routinely at stake.”   

The ACLU has previously engaged in advocacy around this effort, including filing public comments and offering recommendations to the White House OSTP regarding civil rights, equity, and artificial intelligence. 

 

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