FTC warns the AI industry: Don’t discriminate, or else

The Federal Trade Commission of the United States has just thrown a shot across the bow of the artificial intelligence business. On April 19, 2021, a staff attorney at the agency, which serves as the nation’s top consumer protection regulator, published a blog post regarding biased AI algorithms with the following warning: “Keep in mind that if you don’t hold yourself accountable, the FTC may do it for you.”
The post, titled “Aiming for truth, fairness, and equity in your company’s use of AI,” was notable for its tough and specific rhetoric about discriminatory AI. The author observed that the commission’s authority to prohibit unfair and deceptive practices “would include the sale or use of – for example – racially biased algorithms” and that industry exaggerations regarding the capability of AI to make fair or unbiased hiring decisions could result in “deception, discrimination – and an FTC law enforcement action.”

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