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MPs call on the government to take urgent action on Artificial Intelligence accountability

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

A new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Future of Work has called on the government to bring forward robust proposals for artificial intelligence (AI) regulation. The APPG inquiry found that AI is transforming work and working lives across the country in ways that have plainly outpaced, or avoid, the existing regimes for regulation.

Their recommendations are aimed at ensuring that the AI ecosystem is genuinely human-centred, principles-driven and accountable to shape a future of better work. They are centred around a proposal for an Accountability for Algorithms Act (‘the AAA’). The AAA offers an overarching, principles-driven framework for governing and regulating AI in response to the fast-changing developments in workplace technology.

“Pervasive monitoring and target-setting technologies, in particular, are associated with pronounced negative impacts on mental and physical wellbeing as workers experience the extreme pressure of constant, real-time micro-management and automated assessment,” states the report.

They also warned that the use of algorithms in setting performance targets is producing a sense of unfairness and lack of independence among workers. The MPs highlighted the significance of legislation on this issue, saying it would give workers the right to be involved in the design and use of algorithm-driven systems that are deployed to make decisions about fundamental aspects of someone’s work.

David Davis MP, the Conservative chair of the APPG on the future of work, said: “Our inquiry reveals how AI technologies have spread beyond the gig economy to control what, who and how work is done. It is clear that, if not properly regulated, algorithmic systems can have harmful effects on health and prosperity.”

Clive Lewis, a Labour member of the APPG, added: “Our report shows why and how government must bring forward robust proposals for AI regulation. There are marked gaps in regulation at an individual and corporate level that are damaging people and communities right across the country.”

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