TODAY’S ROADMAP FOR REDUCING RISK WHEN USING AI IN THE WORKPLACE

BY John Polson, Esq.

Chairman & Managing Partner
Fisher Phillips

BY Richard Meneghello, Esq.

Chief Content Officer
Fisher Phillips

December 2023/January 2024

 

I recently had the honor of hosting Representative Ted Lieu at our firm’s AI Strategies @ Work Conference to discuss what employers should do to responsibly leverage artificial intelligence into their workplaces. He’s not only a member of the House AI Caucus but was recently named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in AI in the world – so you know his words carry some weight. And he provided a crystal-clear roadmap that every PEO should take into consideration for themselves and their clients.

GUIDANCE COMES FROM EXISTING GOVERNMENT STRATEGY

Rep. Lieu recommended that employers take a look at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) risk assessment framework as a key guidepost for using AI in the workplace. The NIST is a federal agency that promotes innovation in American business. It recently released this framework for voluntary use by businesses to improve trustworthiness when developing, using, and evaluating AI in the workplace. The centerpiece of the framework is a 210-page AI Playbook that provides a comprehensive look at best practices. Sound too daunting? Don’t worry – here are the 10 most important steps you should consider.

PEO’S 10-STEP PLAYBOOK

PEOs should seek to cultivate a culture of risk management surrounding AI use – both in your organizations and at your clients’ places of business – in order to be best positioned in this new area. The 10 most critical steps to minimize risk are:

  1. Develop policies and practices related to AI usage among workers. Ensure they are not only transparent but implemented consistently and effectively.
  2. Make sure to provide training to those using and those responsible for AI systems.
  3. Be transparent about the use of AI with applicants and employees. This will help eliminate discriminatory risks as those interacting with your technology can raise concerns, request accommodations as necessary, and feel comfortable with your systems.
  4. Ensure all AI systems are trustworthy – this includes securing data from risk and eliminating discriminatory outputs.
  5. Promote DEI and accessibility as core tenants of any AI program. At all times and with all AI functions, ensure they comport with the organization’s commitment to diversity.
  6. Consider creating a multi-stakeholder committee that includes representatives from various departments, including HR, IT, Legal, and DEI, to oversee your organization’s AI adoption and usage.
  7. Be aware of data security concerns when it comes to storing data and working with third-party AI service providers.
  8. Inventory all AI systems to make sure the scope of usage is known, and ensure a team or individual is responsible for each one.
  9. Develop contingency plans in the event of an AI-related data breach or other failure, bringing in IT and legal teams to help map out a gameplan ahead of time.
  10. Engage in periodic review of all AI systems with key organizational stakeholders across a broad spectrum of departments – legal, IT, HR, operations, etc. – and adjust as necessary.

THERE’S MUCH MORE

It may be worth your while to skim the entire AI Playbook so you can read more – especially if you are integrating new AI platforms into your PEO or if a client is intending to do so. NIST provides a helpful overview on best practices for identifying risks when selecting and integrating AI (including assembling a broad cross-disciplinary team with a diversity of experience, expertise, abilities, and backgrounds; ensuring the AI opportunities align with your organizational mission; clearly defining the business value before engaging and adopting; and more). It further provides suggestions for measuring and assessing risks and benefits of AI tools on a day-to-day basis.

What Could the Future Hold?

Rep. Lieu was unsure when and if the federal government would pass comprehensive AI legislation. However, he indicated that employers that want to get the jump on any sort of regulation would be wise to follow the NIST risk management framework as a starting point. Not only would those employers get a leg up on whatever regulatory scheme is unveiled, but they would put themselves in the best position to demonstrate responsibility in this area.

 

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