NYC aims to be first to rein in AI hiring tools

Job candidates rarely know when hidden artificial intelligence tools are rejecting their resumes or analyzing their video interviews. But New York City residents could soon get more say over the computers making behind-the-scenes decisions about their careers.

A bill passed by the city council in early November would ban employers from using automated hiring tools unless a yearly bias audit can show they won’t discriminate based on an applicant’s race or gender.

Julia Stoyanovich, associate professor of computer science and director of NYU’s Center for Responsible AI, said the most valued parts of the proposal are its disclosure requirements to let people know they’re being evaluated by a computer and where their data is going.

However, Stoyanovich said she was also concerned about the effectiveness of bias audits of high-risk AI tools: “While this will shine a light on the features that these tools are using… The burden of these audits falls on the vendors of the tools to show that they comply with some rudimentary set of requirements that are very easy to meet,” Stoyanovich explained.