The AI Bill of Rights and Its Effect on Marketers, CX

The White House has some advice when it comes to the ethics of artificial intelligence in its new “bill of rights.”

As part of an effort to inspire companies to create and implement ethically responsible AI and protect public rights in the digital age, the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a set of guidelines Oct. 4. In the 73-page document, focused on five principles, The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights is intended to serve as a guide for the design, use and deployment of automated systems.

Will it affect brands and their ability to create marketing and customer experiences?

Yes, said Mark Levy, former VP of digital experiences at Comcast and now publisher of the DCX Newsletter and Podcast and a CX management consultant for MaxxoMedia. The AI Bill of Rights could have a significant impact on how brands and their customers interact with each other — and he believes it should

“As AI becomes more prevalent in our everyday lives, we need to ensure that it is being used ethically and responsibly,” Levy said. “By creating a clear set of guidelines for how AI should be used, we can help ensure that this technology is not abused or misused by companies and governments.”

As for what affect the guidelines will have, Levy said brands will simply need to be more transparent about how they collect and use AI in their products and services. “This also means,” he added, “that brands will need to make sure that their AI-driven systems are able to explain why they took certain actions or made certain recommendations. And customers will be able to hold brands accountable if they feel that their rights have been violated.”

Related Article: What’s Next for Artificial Intelligence in Customer Experience?

The Five Principles of the AI Bill of Rights

While these guidelines are not mandatory or binding, the White House does hope they will motivate significant organizational changes related to the internal applications of ethical AI.

The blueprint highlights five principles that include:

  1. Protection from “unsafe or ineffective systems”
  2. Equitably designed algorithms and systems that are not discriminatory
  3. Protection from “abusive data practices via built-in protections” and “agency over how data about you is used.”
  4. Notice and explanation that informs people “an automated system is being used” and provides information related to “how and why it contributes to outcomes that impact.”
  5. Human alternatives, consideration and fallback providing that people “should be able to opt out, where appropriate and have access to a person who can quickly consider and remedy problems you encounter.”

“This blueprint is much needed considering the ways in which companies have utilized technology like AI for their own gains without considering what value — if any — they’re actually offering for consumers,” said Raj De Datta, founder and CEO of Bloomreach. “For brands that have used AI in order to drive better experiences at scale, ultimately benefiting consumers, I don’t think this blueprint will have a significant or negative impact on their marketing efforts or overall customer experience.”

Related Article: Powering Customer Experience Through Conversational AI, Analytics and Good Data

Why the AI Bill of Rights and Why Now?

In a process that took place over the course of a year and incorporated discussion panels, meetings, listening sessions and a publicly accessible email address, the OSTP sought input from citizens from various sectors of communities nationwide including industry leaders, developers, policymakers and other experts on “the issue of algorithmic and data-driven harms and potential remedies.”

The resulting handbook, From Principles to Practice, is now available as a guide for those who wish to put the principles suggested into practice. The White House blueprint follows other AI guidelines issued over the past few years from various corporations, government entities and individual states.

Google’s AI Principles were published in June 2018 and updated again in 2020, the same year the Department of Defense (DOD) adopted its own set of Ethical Principles for Artificial Intelligence. In November 2021, the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence was adopted at UNESCO’s General Conference by 193 member states.

In 2022, the National Conference of State Legislatures noted that at least 17 states introduced AI bills or resolutions. Four states passed legislation enacting it including Colorado, Illinois, Vermont and Washington, while task forces to study AI were commissioned in Illinois and Vermont.

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