Friday, May 26, 2023

Good luck, New York City AI regulators

Via the New York Times, this news: 
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.

I have no doubt that New York City government means well, and that I have no doubt that companies will attempt to apply AI to the task of searching through job applications and screening the candidates. I also have little doubt that this rule will be easily bypassed by both technology and clever lawyers (probably more the latter than the former, but we shall see.) 

I have little doubt if the Workdays of the world were informed by Silicon Valley that chicken entrails were the best means of screening job candidates, that soon Jimmy John's and (I dunno) Salesforce would be out there, slaughtering chickens by the thousands in order to find fresh meat for the grinder get the best entry-level candidates. Soon, academics would be calling for chicken entrail regulation, law firms would be out there racking up billable hours in the slaughterhouses of Enterprise Rent-a-Car performing audits, and New York City would be moving towards banning chicken entrails in the screening of hiring candidates. Then Silicon Valley would show that goat entrails actually have a better R-squared (of a whole 0.15) and the cycle would start again...



  1. Unfortunately, I agree. It seems that labor laws adhere to Newton's third law: for every law made there is an equal and opposite workaround created.

  2. This might be relevant:


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20