Booker, other Democrats target biased tech tools

April 10, 2019 - 10:33 am

Congress is starting to show interest in prying open the "black box" of tech companies' artificial intelligence with oversight that parallels how the federal government checks under car hoods and audits banks.

One proposal introduced Wednesday and co-sponsored by a Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Cory Booker, would require big companies to test the "algorithmic accountability" of their AI systems that are helping make important criminal-justice decisions and affecting people's access to housing, credit and jobs.

Companies would have to look for and correct any discrimination in high-risk automated systems.

The Democrats' proposal is the first of its kind and may face an uphill battle in the Republican-led Senate.

But it reflects growing and bipartisan scrutiny into tech company tools that have a major societal impact.