A new bill passed by New York City’s city council could provide residents more say in how artificial intelligence impacts their job searches.
According to the new bill passed in early November, employers would be barred from using AI hiring software unless an annual bias audit proves that the tools are not discriminating against a prospect’s application based on gender or race.
Additionally, makers of AI tools will need to be transparent about how they create their tools and provide them with the option of an alternative process to review their application.
AI hiring applications typically measure an applicant’s skill level based on how they speak or write, quickening the recruitment and hiring process for many companies.
“I believe this technology is incredibly positive but it can produce a lot of harms if there isn’t more transparency,” said Frida Polli, cofounder and CEO of startup Pymetrics, which lobbied for the new bill.
However, some AI experts and digital rights activists feel that the legislation does not do enough to mitigate the risk of discrimination, saying that it could set a low bar for federal lawmakers in the future. Additionally, other forms of bias that are harder to detect, such as ageism and ableism, are not covered under the proposal.
If an employer violates the rules outlined in the bill, they could face fines of up to $1,500 per infraction.
Although Mayor Bill De Blasio’s office says he is in support of the legislation, it is unclear whether he will sign it into law before leaving office. However, if it is enacted, it would go into effect in 2023.