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DOL issues set of principles and best practices for using AI in the workplace

Photo: Just_Super/gettyimages

Washington — “Centering worker empowerment” is the “North Star” when it comes to protecting employees from any potential harm related to using artificial intelligence

That’s according to the Department of Labor’s recently released set of principles and best practices on using AI systems in the workplace.

“Workers and their representatives, especially those from underserved communities, should be informed of and have genuine input in the design, development, testing, training, use, and oversight of AI systems for use in the workplace,” DOL says.

Also included:
Ethically develop AI: AI systems should be designed, developed and trained in a way that protects workers.
Establish AI governance and human oversight: Employers should have clear governance systems, procedures, human oversight and evaluation processes for AI systems.
Ensure transparency in AI use: Employers should be transparent with workers and job seekers about the AI systems being used.
Protect labor and employment rights: AI systems shouldn’t violate or undermine workers’ right to organize, health and safety rights, wage and hour rights, and antidiscrimination and antiretaliation protections.
Use AI to enable workers: AI systems should assist, complement and enable workers, as well as improve job quality.
Support workers impacted by AI: Employers should support or upskill workers during job transitions related to AI.
Ensure responsible use of worker data: Workers’ data collected, used or created by AI systems should be limited in scope and location, used only to support legitimate business aims, and protected and handled responsibly.

An Executive Order signed by President Joe Biden in October directed DOL to develop the principles and best practices, with input from workers, unions, researchers, academics, employers and developers, among others, and through public listening sessions.

“These principles will create a roadmap for developers and employers on how to harness AI technologies for their businesses while ensuring workers benefit from new opportunities created by AI and are protected from its potential harms,” DOL says.

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