On Oct. 30, President Biden issued a landmark Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence. This executive order advances the Biden-Harris administration’s comprehensive strategy for governing the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) safely and responsibly. A key component of that strategy – especially for us at the Department of Labor – is the commitment to supporting our nation’s workers. This commitment involves ensuring that workers not only benefit from AI’s opportunities, such as new jobs and improved job quality, but are also protected from its dangers, including job displacement, discrimination, the undermining of workers’ rights and worsening job quality.
AI, like other technological advancements, will transform the way that many of us work. It holds enormous potential both to enhance opportunity and prosperity for workers and to exacerbate inequity, bias and job displacement. The Department of Labor is dedicated to ensuring that workers have a voice in the responsible development and use of AI in the workplace, in order to expand opportunities and mitigate harm.
The scope of AI use in the workplace, both now and in the future, is expansive and dynamic. AI encompasses machine-based systems capable of learning human-like tasks, such as making predictions, recommendations or decisions. It can track workers, measure and predict their output, set performance goals, and recommend performance-based rewards or sanctions. AI systems can also process job applications, assess qualifications and identify top candidates for an HR professional. Generative AI capable of creating original content can, for example, draft new emails to clients based on previous exchanges, provide enhanced support to customer service agents and write new software code. While these examples demonstrate AI’s potential to increase workers’ productivity and efficiency, this technology also poses risks of deteriorating job quality, embedding bias or replacing workers altogether.
Under Acting Secretary Julie Su’s leadership, the Labor Department has committed to ensuring that AI, in any workplace, must be developed and used responsibly to improve workers’ lives, positively augment human work and help all people safely enjoy the benefits of technological innovation. That is why the department is developing principles and best practices for employers and AI developers that can be used to mitigate AI’s potential harms to employees’ well-being and maximize its potential benefits.
We are eager to engage with employers, AI developers, unions, worker advocates and researchers to inform these principles and best practices. To that end, we are launching a series of AI listening sessions to hear directly from you and learn from your experiences with AI. We are particularly interested in learning about:
- Job-displacement risks and career opportunities related to AI.
- Labor standards and job quality implications of AI in the workplace, including those related to equity, protected-activity, compensation, and health and safety.
- Implications of employers using AI to collect data on workers, including issues such as data privacy, ownership and transparency.
We invite you to attend any of the following AI listening sessions. These listening sessions will be held in a virtual format and will have ASL and CART interpretation available. To attend, please register online with the corresponding link.
- Wednesday, Dec. 13, 5:30 to 7 p.m. ET – A comprehensive and open-ended session. Register here.
- Thursday, Dec. 14, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET – Focusing on hearing how AI developers and employers are designing and deploying AI in the workplace. Register here.
- Friday, Dec. 15, 2 to 3:30 p.m. ET – Focusing on hearing how workers, unions, worker advocates and AI researchers are considering the impact of AI in the workplace. Register here.
Your participation and diverse perspectives are invaluable to us.
Muneer Ahmad is senior counsel to the secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor.