White House Examines Worker Surveillance, AI Ahead of Rules Push

(Bloomberg) -- The White House is hosting a forum for workers whose employers use automated systems to monitor them, and plans a broader effort to ask Americans what priorities the government should pursue regarding artificial intelligence as President Joe Biden weighs new regulations on emerging workplace technologies.

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The meeting with White House officials on Tuesday will feature employees from call centers, warehouses, health care, gig work and the trucking industry, as the administration seeks to better understand how companies deploy automated technology for worker surveillance.

Companies including Amazon.com Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. have come under criticism from labor groups who say technologies designed to improve performance and efficiency can push them to accept unsafe working conditions.

Separately, the White House’s science and technology office is asking Americans to identify priorities for protecting individual rights and safety as it considers artificial intelligence programs. Biden and other Group of Seven leaders discussed the emerging technology at their summit over the weekend in Japan, calling for the adoption of technical standards to keep the technology “trustworthy” and “in line with our shared democratic values.”

Generative artificial intelligence tools have come under increased regulatory scrutiny as their popular use has exploded in recent months following the debut of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Microsoft Corp. has incorporated AI technology into its Bing search product, and Alphabet Inc.’s Google released its rival Bard chatbot in March.

The Commerce Department in April said it was considering regulations that could require AI models to go through a certification process before they are released, and the Federal Trade Commission has said the agency is closely monitoring the use of artificial intelligence tools. European Union lawmakers have been drafting the AI Act, which would regulate the emerging technology.

The White House on Tuesday is also releasing an updated roadmap intended to govern federal investment in AI technologies. The document says the administration will prioritize its investments in systems that serve the public good and respect individual privacy rights.

Federal funding will also make a priority of AI technologies that address challenges like climate change, health care, and manufacturing.

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