philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


New York City’s AI task force stalls

curbed_new_york_city_street.0.0Nearly one year after its founding, the Automated Decision Systems Task Force hasn’t even agreed on the definition of an automated decision system

In May 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the formation of the Automated Decision Systems Task Force, a cross-disciplinary group of city officials and experts in artificial intelligence (AI), ethics, privacy, and law. Established by Local Law 49, the goal of the ADS Task Force is to develop a process for reviewing algorithms the city uses—such as those for determining public school assignments, predicting which buildings should be inspected, and fighting tenant harassment—through the lens of equity, fairness, and accountability.

“Algorithms should be subject to the same scrutiny with which we treat any regulation, standard, rule, or protocol. It is essential that they are highly vetted, transparent, accurate and do not generate injurious, unintended consequences,” Stringer wrote. “Without such oversight, misguided or outright inaccurate algorithms can fester and lead to increasingly problematic outcomes for city residents, employees, and contractors.”

This lack of progress to date reflects the overall difficulty of regulating technology, a field that’s coming under increased scrutiny at federal, state, and local levels. This month, the House and Senate introduced the Algorithmic Accountability Act, which, if passed, would require the FTC to create rules for assessing the impact of automated decision systems. HUD recently sued Facebook for housing discrimination in its ads, the New York Civil Liberties Union is suing ICE for its immigrant risk assessment algorithm, and a Connecticut judge recently ruled that tenant screening companies that use algorithmic risk assessments must comply with fair housing rules.

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