Birkenhead MP introduces ‘AI Bill of Rights’ to safeguard workers

Labour MP Mick Whitley will tomorrow (Wednesday 17 May) introduce an “AI Bill of Rights” to protect workers from the misuse of Artificial Intelligence in the workplace.

The Member of Parliament for Birkenhead’s Artificial Intelligence (Regulation and Workers’ Rights) Bill would create new rights for workers, including a right to a human review of decisions made by AI and a right to human contact when high-risk decisions are made in the workplace.

The Bill would also establish a new statutory duty for employers to consult with employees and their trade unions before introducing AI into the workplace.

The Bill is being introduced amidst rising fears about the rapidly developing sophistication and prevalence of AI-powered technologies.

In January 2022, 15% of all UK businesses and 68% of large companies had adopted at least one form of AI into their workplace. Trade unions have called for there to be stronger oversight of AI in the workplace.

There are growing concerns that workers are increasingly being managed and monitored by AI technologies and that this is eroding their autonomy, privacy, and right to a private life. The AI Bill would also for the first time introduce a “right to disconnect”, allowing workers to opt-out from work communications and monitoring outside of working hours.

Labour Party Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner, has confirmed that the party is considering introducing a “right to switch off” if it wins the next General Election.

Campaigners have also voiced concerns about AI perpetuating discrimination in the workplace. Recent examples include Amazon deploying a machine-learning tool that downgraded job applications from women and disabled candidates complaining that they were discriminated against by an AI video interviewing system.

Mick Whitley said that his Bill would strengthen equality law by making discriminatory data processing expressly unlawful.

Speaking in Parliament this month, the Birkenhead MP said that we should “embrace the potential of AI to change our lives for the better” – pointing to potential advances in medical science – but that the “benefits of this new technological revolution must be shared by everyone, not just an elite few.”

The Labour MP has also criticised the government’s AI White Paper, which sets out a “light touch” and “pro-innovation” approach to the regulation of AI for falling short of more ambitious legislation currently being considered in the European Union and United States. He warned that the government’s strategy would leave workers vulnerable to exploitation in the workplace.


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