The Associated Press reported that a bill passed by the New York City Council this month would prohibit employers from using automated hiring tools until the tools can pass annual audits to prove they are based on a potential employee’s race or gender. Do not discriminate on grounds.
Although some companies use artificial intelligence-based tools to review resumes or analyze job interview videos, applicants are usually unaware that their information is being put through the process. The bill would also force companies that make AI tools to provide more information about how their products work, and give candidates the chance to opt out of having their information reviewed by a program, potentially a The actual person will need to go to their application.
Frida Poli, co-founder and CEO of New York startup Pymetrics, which uses AI to assess job skills through games, “I believe this technology is incredibly positive, but if If there isn’t much transparency, it can cause a lot of damage.” Like online assessments, told the AP. His company lobbied the law, which already favors firms like Pymetrics that publish fairness audits.
However, some AI experts and digital rights advocates said the bill would not be enough to prevent bias and sets relatively weak standards for a bill that has a chance to be used as a template in other states or the union.
The bill comes as more companies such as fast-food chains and Wall Street banks begin using AI tools to speed up their application and recruitment process.
The council passed Bill 38–4 on 10 November, and while Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he supports the bill, he is still unsure whether he will sign it. The bill has a strong enough majority to go into law without the mayor’s signature, and once enacted it will take effect in 2023 under mayor-elect Eric Adams.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
Proponents compare it to another pioneering New York City rule that had become a national standard-bearer earlier this century—one that required chain restaurants to slap a calorie count on their menu items.
Rather than measuring hamburger health, however, the measure aims to open a window into complex algorithms that rank job applicants’ skills and personalities based on their speaking or writing.
“The auditing approach to bias is a good one,” said Alexandra Givens, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology. The problem is that New York City took a very weak and vague standard for what it looked like. She said the audit could give AI vendors a “fig leaf” for manufacturing riskier products with the imprint of the city.
Givens said there’s also a problem that the proposal aims to defend only against racial or gender bias, leaving behind a more complex bias toward disabilities or age. She said the bill was recently watered down so that it would effectively ask employers to meet existing requirements under U.S. civil rights laws that unequally impact hiring based on race, ethnicity, or gender. prohibit the practices. The law would impose fines of up to $1,500 per violation on employers or employment agencies—though it would be left up to vendors to audit and show employers that their equipment meets city requirements.
Julia Stoyanovich, an associate professor of computer science who directs New York University’s Center for Responsible AI, said the best part of the proposal are the disclosure requirements to tell people that they are being assessed by computers and where their data is. He is going.
“This will shed light on the facilities these devices are using,” she said.
But Stoyanovich said she was also concerned about the effectiveness of bias audits of high-risk AI tools—a concept that is also being investigated by the White House, federal agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and lawmakers in Congress and the European Parliament. .
“The burden of these audits falls on the vendors of equipment to show that they comply with some primary set of requirements that are very easy to meet,” she said.
The audit will not impact the in-house hiring tools used by tech giants like Amazon. The company abandoned its use of resume-scanning tools several years ago after favoring men for technical roles—as it was comparing job candidates against the company’s own male-dominated tech workers.
There has been much less vocal opposition to the bill by AI hiring vendors that are commonly used by employers. One of them, HireVue, a platform for video-based job interviewing, said in a statement this week that it welcomed legislation that “demands that all vendors meet the high standards that HireVue has set since the beginning.” supported.”
The Greater New York Chamber of Commerce said the city’s employers are also unlikely to see the new rules as a burden.
Helena Nutt, executive director of the chamber, said, “It’s all about transparency and employers should be aware that companies that are hiring are using these algorithms and software, and employees should be aware of that as well. “