Dr. Alondra Nelson, Deputy Assistant to the President and OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society
Dr. Sorelle Friedler, Assistant Director for Data and Democracy
Ami Fields-Meyer, Chief of Staff, OSTP Science and Society Division
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is today releasing the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights 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.
These technologies can drive great innovations, like enabling early cancer detection or helping farmers grow food more efficiently. But in the United States and abroad, people are increasingly being surveilled or ranked by automated systems in their workplaces and in their schools, in housing and banking, in healthcare and the legal system, and beyond. Algorithms used across many sectors are plagued by bias and discrimination, and too often developed with without regard to their real-world consequences and without the input of the people who will have to live with their results.
These problems, which have expanded dramatically over the past decade, are threatening the rights of millions and hurting people in historically marginalized communities.
That’s why today we’re laying out five common sense protections to which everyone in America should be entitled:
- 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 when an automated system is being used and understand how and why it contributes to outcomes that impact you.
- Human Alternatives, Consideration, and Fallback: You should be able to opt out, where appropriate, and have access to a person who can quickly consider and remedy problems you encounter.
We have been guided in this effort by a set of pressing questions: What could it look like for industry developers and academic researchers to think about equity at the start of a design process, and not only after issues of discrimination emerged downstream? What kind of society could we have if all innovation began with ethical forethought? How do we ensure that the guardrails to which we are entitled in our day-to-day lives carry over into our digital lives?
The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights begins to answer these questions. It offers a vision for a society where protections are embedded from the beginning, where marginalized communities have a voice in the development process, and designers work hard to ensure the benefits of technology reach all people.
More than a set of principles, this is a blueprint to empower people, companies, and policymakers across the United States and meet President Biden’s call to hold big technology accountable, protect the civil rights of Americans, and ensure technology is working for the American people.
We led a year-long process to develop this framework, diving deeply into how people across the country are affected by these systems. People from many backgrounds offered input through panel discussions, public listening sessions, meetings, a formal request for information, and other outreach formats.
We heard from hundreds of people: workers and high school students, business associations and scholarly associations, software engineers and researchers, civil society organization and community activists, CEOs and entrepreneurs, public servants across federal agencies, and members of the international community who spoke up about both the promises and potential harms of these technologies.
Nearly every person who spoke up shared a profound eagerness for clear federal leadership and guidelines to protect the public. This framework is an answer to those calls—and a response to the urgent threats posed to the American public by unchecked automated systems.
This blueprint is for the older Americans denied critical health benefits because of an algorithm change. The student erroneously accused of cheating by AI-enabled video surveillance. The fathers wrongfully arrested because of facial recognition technology. The Black Americans blocked from a kidney transplant after an AI assumed they were at lesser risk for kidney disease. It is for everyone who interacts daily with these technologies—and every person whose life has been altered by an unaccountable algorithm.
The work of bringing these protections to life starts with leading by example—beginning with the U.S. government’s own policies and practices. That’s why today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a slate of actions across the federal government aligned with the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights to protect and support the American people. These commitments are only a down payment on these principles; they mark the start of a long-term process to bring transformative change to the way the U.S. government designs, uses, and regulates automated systems.
Now, we’re rallying leaders across all sectors—policymakers, industry, and communities—to meet this urgent call, and commit to bold action to build a fairer, safer, and more just tech future. The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights includes a technical companion which provides examples and concrete steps for communities, industry, governments, and others to take in order to build these key protections into policy, practice, or the technological design process.
The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights is designed to be used by people across American society:
- Project managers leading the development of new AI products can use the framework as a checklist and incorporate safeguards into the design process.
- Policymakers can codify these measures into law or use the framework and its technical companion to help develop specific guidance on the use of automated systems within a sector.
- Parents can use the framework as a set of questions to ask school administrators about what protections exist for their children.
- Workers can use the framework to advocate for better workplace conditions.
- Doctors, patients, and healthcare advocates can ask questions about what safeguards from the framework are in place in the automated systems used in healthcare settings.
All of us have a role to play to ensure that innovation is rooted in inclusion, integrity, and our common humanity. Let us know how you are using the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights, the Biden-Harris Administration is charting the course toward making automated systems work for all of us. We look forward to forging this path alongside the American people.