AFL-CIO Commends Biden-Harris Administration’s Early Step to Protect Against Potential Harms of Artificial Intelligence, Makes Clear Safeguards Led by Workers Are Needed

Statement from AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler on the Biden-Harris Administration’s latest move to promote safety and equity in Artificial Intelligence development:

Today, the Biden-Harris administration announced voluntary commitments toward safety, transparency and equity from some of the world’s largest technology companies as they develop and unveil artificial intelligence (AI) tools for public and commercial use. 

If left unregulated, AI and automated monitoring systems have a proven capacity to undermine Americans’ rights and destabilize pathways for workers—particularly women, people of color and immigrants—to access safe, quality jobs and enter the middle class. Robust guardrails must accompany this technology as it enters Americans’ workplaces and homes in order to foster the benefits of AI while circumventing its potential for harm.

“The Biden-Harris administration recognizes that the development of artificial intelligence cannot come at the expense of working people’s rights or jobs,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “From the perpetuation of racial and gender biases to the amplification of disinformation, ample evidence makes clear AI has the potential to profoundly harm workers if the proper guardrails are not put in place. 

“We are pleased that some of the world’s largest companies are voluntarily engaging with the administration to make AI safer and more transparent, but this is only a first step,” Shuler said. “We must ensure this powerful technology is governed by laws that put the protection of workers and consumers at the very center. No matter the industry, workers will see their lives transformed by AI in the coming years. For that reason, working people must take a leading role in crafting safeguards that protect our wellbeing, privacy, civil rights, workplaces and livelihoods. The AFL-CIO looks forward to partnering with the Biden-Harris administration in meeting this transformational moment, and centering workers in the evolution and implementation of this powerful technology.”