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Worker safety part of Biden administration policy goals on AI


Photo: Khanchit Khirisutchalual/iStockphoto

Washington — Artificial intelligence shouldn’t be deployed in workplaces in a way that introduces new health and safety risks.

That’s one of eight policy principles and priorities set forth in an Executive Order regarding the safe, secure and trustworthy development and use of AI. President Joe Biden signed the EO on Oct. 30.

“In the workplace itself, AI should not be deployed in ways that undermine rights, worsen job quality, encourage undue worker surveillance, lessen market competition, introduce new health and safety risks, or cause harmful labor force disruptions,” the EO states.

The EO also addresses consumer protections and cybersecurity, among other topics.

“AI is changing U.S. jobs and workplaces, with several barriers to widespread adoption, and this Executive Order is a much-needed first step to keeping workers protected and safe,” the National Safety Council says in a statement. “Investing in workplace training and development to ensure workers can use AI to do their jobs safely and securely is key, as AI has the power to help improve safety and health outcomes in the workplace.”

Through its Work to Zero initiative, NSC notes that AI technologies such as machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, and predictive and prescriptive analytics engines can “serve as powerful tools to identify risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders and other injuries, reduce employee incidents, and streamline manual tasks.

“We urge the White House, Congress and other policymakers to examine these findings as it continues to incorporate learnings into this effort.”

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