Let the AI auditing vendor brigade begin. A year since it was introduced, New York City Council passed a bill earlier this week requiring companies that sell AI technologies for hiring to obtain audits assessing the potential of those products to discriminate against job candidates. The bill requiring "bias audits" passed with overwhelming support in a 38-4 vote.
The bill is intended to weed out the use of tools that enable already unlawful employment discrimination in New York City. If signed into law, it will require providers of automated employment decision tools to have those systems evaluated each year by an audit service and provide the results to companies using those systems.
AI for recruitment can include software that uses machine learning to sift through resumes and help make hiring decisions, systems that attempt to decipher the sentiments of a job candidate, or even tech involving games to pick up on subtle clues about someone's hiring worthiness. The NYC bill attempts to encompass the full gamut of AI by covering everything from old-school decision trees to more complex systems operating through neural networks.
The legislation calls on companies using automated decision tools for recruitment not only to tell job candidates when they're being used, but to tell them what information the technology used to evaluate their suitability for a job.
The bill, however, fails to go into detail on what constitutes a bias audit other than to define one as "an impartial evaluation" that involves testing. And it already has critics who say it was rushed into passage and doesn't address discrimination related to disability or age.
If signed, the law goes into effect January 2023. Violators could be subject to civil penalties.Another thing the bill doesn't address? How well automatic hiring technologies work to remove phony applicants. That might have come in handy in the case of this prankster.