The “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights.”, recently released by the Biden-Harris Administration’s Office of Science and Technology, has been welcomed as “straightforward, non-partisan, and good for the end-user” by one of the leading players in the conversational AI space.
The document was created “to help guide the design, development, and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) and other automated systems so that they protect the rights of the American public,” according to the department. It states that the blueprint “should guide the design, use, and deployment of automated systems to protect the American public in the age of artificial intelligence.”
Andrei Papancea, CEO and Chief Product Officer at conversational AI specialist NLX, which works with companies in the airline, hospitality and online retail spaces, says that the document outlines principles and protections that are in line with many of the things NLX helps clients think through when designing and building automated conversations. There are five core protections mentioned within the blueprint, as follows:
· Safe and Effective Systems: You should be protected from unsafe or ineffective systems.
· Algorithmic Discrimination Protections: You should not face discrimination by algorithms and systems should be used and designed in an equitable way.
· Data Privacy: You should be protected from abusive data practices via built-in protections, and you should have agency over how data about you is used.
· Notice and Explanation: You should know that an automated system is being used and understand how and why it contributes to outcomes that impact you.
· Alternative Options: You should be able to opt out, where appropriate, and have access to a person who can quickly consider and remedy problems you encounter.
“Customers absolutely should be protected from unsafe and ineffective systems,” says Papancea. “There’s nothing more irritating than interacting with AI that doesn’t do the job it’s supposed to do, or worse – it puts you at risk! Brands offering automation need to ensure that customers get the help they need and aren’t left waiting and unhelped.” Key, he adds, is to always try to do what’s right for the end-user:
“That said,” he continues, “not every customer inquiry should be automated, and businesses must have alternative options where the end user can opt out and get the help they need to resolve their inquiry. This may mean that “containment” metrics take a dip, but the trade-off is increased customer satisfaction with service because the end-user is receiving the help they need.” Papancea agrees that Notice & Explanation is also important and that, while Conversational AI can be designed to be human-like, it is not human and that this is an important distinction to make.
“Failing to inform the customer that a virtual assistant is being used can add to further mistrust of AI, creating a poor customer experience. With that said, we also agree that end-users should be aware that an automated system is being used.” The Biden-Harris Office of Science and Technology release continues to delve into further detail about protections for workers, healthcare providers, students, and others.
“While I think the blueprint could delve a bit further into promoting the benefits AI can have, beginning with basic protections is a good place to start. We look forward to seeing what else the department publishes in the coming months,” he concludes.