Officials at four U.S. agencies warned Tuesday they are prepared to act against bias or discrimination that involves artificial intelligence (AI).
A joint statement issued by Rohit Chopra, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB); Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; Charlotte Burrows, chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; and Lina Khan, chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), said existing laws against discrimination apply to the use of automated systems, including AI.
By issuing the statement, the agencies reiterated their commitment to monitor AI and promote responsible innovation.
“We already see how AI tools can turbocharge fraud and automate discrimination, and we won’t hesitate to use the full scope of our legal authorities to protect Americans from these threats,” Khan said in an FTC press release.
The agencies are taking an “all-of-government approach to enforce existing laws and work collaboratively on AI risks,” Chopra said in a statement.
“Although many of these tools offer the promise of advancement, their use also has the potential to perpetuate unlawful bias, automate unlawful discrimination, and produce other harmful outcomes,” the joint statement said.
The agencies said they will use their respective authorities to protect individuals’ rights from violations perpetrated through AI.
The CFPB said it is preparing to release a white paper on how chatbots used by financial institutions are interfering with consumers’ ability to interact directly with the institutions.
Financial institutions are collecting large amounts of personal and financial data on consumers and using AI to analyze the data and decide whether someone gets a loan or a mortgage, Chopra said. Recent studies and reports have raised “serious questions” about AI causing bias, including against Black families, in terms of who is approved for mortgages, he said.
The joint statement comes on the heels of scrutiny against chatbots like ChatGPT by authorities in the European Union and Canada. ChatGPT was shut down in Italy by the country’s data protection authority and has been banned in China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.