Artificial intelligence (AI) regulations are coming soon from federal rulemaking agencies. President Biden signed an executive order (EO) that focuses largely on national security risks, but also potential dangers to large segments of the labor market.
Early returns show companies are finding ways to streamline processes in areas like finance, eliminate time spent on manual tasks and allow employees to focus on other priorities. CFOs are very eager to implement AI in a variety of ways. ChatGPT remains the top choice for business professionals although there are some limitations to what the tool can handle.
And there’s no question firms will quickly move to shed payroll if AI can be used to replace workers. Some business leaders, including Elon Musk, warn that if left unchecked, AI will lead to massive problems and displacement of workers not only in blue-collar fields but also in medicine, technology and management.
Can feds stem the coming wave of job losses?
Biden’s EO for the “safe, secure and trustworthy development and use” of AI lays out the following eight priorities:
- creating standards for AI safety and security
- protecting privacy
- advancing equity and civil rights
- protecting consumers, patients and students who take out loans
- protecting workers (more on that below)
- promoting innovation and competition in the burgeoning AI field
- advancing U.S. leadership in AI technology (China is the key competitor), and
- ensuring responsible and effective government use of AI technology.
The Labor Department will be tasked with developing “best practices to mitigate the harms and maximize the benefits of AI for workers.” Specific areas to address are: 1) job displacement 2) labor standards 3) workplace equity, health and safety, and 4) data collection.
The order specifically calls for Labor to enact regs to “prevent employers from undercompensating workers, evaluating job applications unfairly or impinging on workers’ ability to organize.” The department must also produce a report on AI’s potential labor market impacts, and study and identify ways for the feds to support workers facing labor disruptions.