Social Work in Data Science: Tech Policy Gaps and Addressing Harm


There is currently no passed federal legislation regulating companies creating
artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic tools, such as social media e-surveillance tools, facial recognition detection tools, and pre-trial risk assessments. The only federal policy that discusses AI is an Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in AI, which was issued in 2019. This order, however, did not regulate AI companies, but instead emphasized “removing barriers to AI innovation." This prioritizing of rapid development, rather than ethical development, does not take into account whether emerging AI technologies are not only effective but are working to help rather than harm. Innovation within the AI field has bled into many other fields, such as healthcare, incarceration, employment, and education. The Algorithmic Accountability Act, which outlines minimizing risk of automated systems, as well as the Deepfakes Accountability Act, which seeks to mitigate the spread of malicious political disinformation before an election, were introduced to congress in 2019, with no further action as of November 2020.