New York City bill could ban AI-powered hiring tools that discriminate against applicants based on gender or race and $1,500 fines would be imposed on companies that use the technology

A bill passed by the New York City council early this month aims to ban companies from using artificial intelligent-powered hiring tools that discriminate based on an applicant’s gender or race.

If signed into law, the legislation will require providers the technology to systems evaluated each year by an audit service and provide the results to companies using those systems.

Employers using systems that do not meet requirements could be fined up to $1,500 per violation, but the law states it will be left up to the vendors to conduct the audits and show employers that their tools meet the city’s requirements.

If the bill is pushed to law, it would go into affect January 2023 and make New York City the first place in the US to rein in AI hiring tools.

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A bill passed by the New York City council early this month aims to ban companies from using artificial intelligent-powered hiring tools that discriminate based on an applicant’s gender or race

However, Alexandra Givens, president of the Center for Democracy & Technology, notes that this legislation does not protect against disabilities or age.

‘The approach of auditing for bias is a good one,’ said Givens.

‘The problem is New York City took a very weak and vague standard for what that looks like.’

She said the bill was recently watered down so that it effectively just asks employers to meet existing requirements under US civil rights laws prohibiting hiring practices that have a disparate impact based on race, ethnicity or gender.

If signed into law, the legislation will require providers the technology to systems evaluated each year by an audit service and provide the results to companies using those systems. Pictured is a system from Pymetrics, AI technology used to assess job skills

Companies are adopting AI-based tools to ease the burden on human employees of screening, assessing and selecting job candidates.

About 99 percent of Fortune 500 companies use at least some form of an automated applicant tracking system for screening candidates, according to Jobscan.

However, the technology is largely unregulated and riddled with biases on race, gender, disability and more.

The City Council voted 38-4 to pass the bill on November 10, giving a month for outgoing Mayor Bill De Blasio to sign or veto it or let it go into law unsigned.

De Blasio’s office says he supports the bill but has not said if he will sign it.

If enacted, it would take effect in January 2023 under the administration of Mayor-elect Eric Adams.

Julia Stoyanovich, an associate professor of computer science who directs New York University’s Center for Responsible AI, said the best parts of the proposal are its disclosure requirements to let people know they’re being evaluated by a computer and where their data is going.

‘This will shine a light on the features that these tools are using,’ she said.

The City Council voted 38-4 to pass the bill on November 10, giving a month for outgoing Mayor Bill De Blasio to sign or veto it or let it go into law unsigned. De Blasio’s office says he supports the bill but has not said if he will sign it

If the bill is pushed to law, it would go into affect January 2023 and make New York City the first place in the US to rein in AI hiring tools. Pictured is AI-powered HireVue that uses facial recognition software to screen job applicants

But Stoyanovich said she was also concerned about the effectiveness of bias audits of high-risk AI tools—a concept that’s also being examined 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 the tools to show that they comply with some rudimentary set of requirements that are very easy to meet,’ she said.

The audits won’t likely affect in-house hiring tools used by tech giants like Amazon.

The company several years ago abandoned its use of a resume-scanning tool after finding it favored men for technical roles—in part because it was comparing job candidates against the company’s own male-dominated tech workforce.

There’s been little vocal opposition to the bill from the AI hiring vendors most commonly used by employers.

One of those, HireVue, a platform for video-based job interviews, said in a statement this week that it welcomed legislation that ‘demands that all vendors meet the high standards that HireVue has supported since the beginning.’

 

Original post: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-10221997/New-York-City-bill-ban-AI-powered-hiring-tools-discriminate-against-applicants.html

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