A Hiring Law Blazes a Path for A.I. Regulation

Article by Steve Lohr: “European lawmakers are finishing work on an A.I. act. The Biden administration and leaders in Congress have their plans for reining in artificial intelligence. Sam Altman, the chief executive of OpenAI, maker of the A.I. sensation ChatGPT, recommended the creation of a federal agency with oversight and licensing authority in Senate testimony last week. And the topic came up at the Group of 7 summit in Japan.

Amid the sweeping plans and pledges, New York City has emerged as a modest pioneer in A.I. regulation.

The city government passed a law in 2021 and adopted specific rules last month for one high-stakes application of the technology: hiring and promotion decisions. Enforcement begins in July.

The city’s law requires companies using A.I. software in hiring to notify candidates that an automated system is being used. It also requires companies to have independent auditors check the technology annually for bias. Candidates can request and be told what data is being collected and analyzed. Companies will be fined for violations.

New York City’s focused approach represents an important front in A.I. regulation. At some point, the broad-stroke principles developed by governments and international organizations, experts say, must be translated into details and definitions. Who is being affected by the technology? What are the benefits and harms? Who can intervene, and how?

“Without a concrete use case, you are not in a position to answer those questions,” said Julia Stoyanovich, an associate professor at New York University and director of its Center for Responsible A.I.

But even before it takes effect, the New York City law has been a magnet for criticism. Public interest advocates say it doesn’t go far enough, while business groups say it is impractical.

The complaints from both camps point to the challenge of regulating A.I., which is advancing at a torrid pace with unknown consequences, stirring enthusiasm and anxiety.

Uneasy compromises are inevitable.

Ms. Stoyanovich is concerned that the city law has loopholes that may weaken it. “But it’s much better than not having a law,” she said. “And until you try to regulate, you won’t learn how.”…(More)” – See also AI Localism: Governing AI at the Local Level