Two new US bills to protect workers from ‘intrusive’ AI surveillance

The new regulation also seeks to prevent "robot bosses" that automate hiring decisions.
Loukia Papadopoulos
New US AI regulation is in the works.jpg
New US AI regulation is in the works.


On Thursday, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. introduced two new bills to protect workers from intrusive workplace surveillance and so-called robot bosses, according to a report published by NBC News.

“I think generally everyone around here is keenly focused on providing a strategy to confront what can only be described as an awesome challenge for the country,” Casey told the news outlet about the new regulation he hopes will see the light of day soon.

“There are also some opportunities with AI, but the challenge of it is — I don’t think I have to exaggerate that.”

The first bill is called the No Robot Bosses Act and it will stop employers from relying solely on automated systems to conduct hiring decisions. 

“Systems and software, not humans, are increasingly making decisions on whom to interview for a job, where and when employees should work, and who gets promoted, disciplined, or even fired from their job,” a summary of the bill stated.

“Maybe you’re a delivery driver and your employer’s tracking algorithm determines you’re not performing up to its standards — and then sends you an email to let you know you’ve been fired without any warning or opportunity to speak to a human being,” the summary continues. “In 2023, these scenarios are no longer just imaginary. … Without oversight and safeguards, these ‘robot bosses’ increase the risks of discrimination, unfair disciplinary actions, and dangerous working conditions.”

The second bill is called the Exploitative Workplace Surveillance and Technologies Task Force Act and would see the creation of a government body to oversee workplace surveillance and submit reports to Congress. 

Casey is not the only politician concerned about the rise in AI in the workforce and beyond. Others have expressed concerns and taken steps to mitigate any potential negative effects of the technology although some take a more cautious approach.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. said he has been attempting to educate members of Congress about AI but advised against too much regulation that could stifle innovation and investment in the field.

“I do not want to see government create an agency to approve whether someone can build upon AI. I’ve watched what the European Union has done that has actually, their guidelines has taken capital away and people walking away from Europe and investing in AI,” McCarthy told reporters including NBC News this week.

“I want to see an ability to foster AI here in America but also at the same time protect us from any fears that we may have.”

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