Today we’re going to touch on the idea of artificial intelligence (“AI”) in the workplace as we’ve seen that it’s already in place in many businesses.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
First, let’s address what AI is exactly. AI is computer-simulated human intelligence. Meaning it takes some regular tasks and decision-making out of the hands of humans, and puts it in the hands of computer systems. The process is controlled by advanced coding and algorithms, usually established by the software tech company.
Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace and Its Risks
AI can be used at various levels, from hiring to training, and the like; and while it has it’s advantages, it also has the potential for risk to your business. You may be wondering what those risks are, and rightly so. The systems and algorithms that dictate suggestions and decisions by AI can cause an inherent bias that you’ve worked so hard to avoid. Why? These systems may be using benchmarks that could unintentionally exclude minorities, for example. Does that mean a rise in discrimination claims? Possibly.
Although the federal government doesn’t regulate AI in the workplace, this past May, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (“EEOC”) published guidance that would help employers navigate compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) when relying on AI at work. In particular, it provided for potential risks that AI and automated hiring tools could violate the ADA. While the guidance is not binding, it does suggest the same concern we’re discussing here that AI may result in unintended bias and subsequent claims of discrimination.
What Does the Risk of AI Bias Mean for Employers?
Employers should take precautions to make sure that they are at least testing themselves against the new EEOC guidance to ensure their workplace practices are consistent with these best practices.
It is worth noting that at the state and local level, here in Florida, we have not seen any suggested or proposed legislation come up that would govern the use of workplace AI.