UK Trades Union Congress outlines recommendations to ensure AI improves working lives

The Trades Union Congress in the UK has published three reports on work and artificial intelligence (AI), outlining recommendations for ensuring that the technology improves working lives and does not lead to more inequality and discrimination. The first report, Technology managing people –The worker experience, looks at the implications of AI being used to make decisions about people at work, noting, for instance, that the use of AI in people management might result in discriminatory and unfair outcomes for workers, and their right to privacy and data protection might be infringed. The second report, Technology managing people – The legal implications notes that the current regulatory framework needs to be reformed in order to ensure that the workers’ rights and interests are protected when AI is used. The document outlines a series of recommendations for a regulatory reform, including enacting a universal right to explainability in relation to high risk AI systems in the workplace; introducing a right for workers not to be subject to detrimental treatment, including dismissal, due to the processing of inaccurate data; making it clear that discriminatory data processing is always unlawful; ensuring that all actors in the value chain leading to the implementation of AI systems in the workplace are liable for discrimination; and introducing comprehensive and universal right to human review of decisions made in the workplace that are high risk. The third report, Dignity at work and the AI revolution, takes the form of a manifesto which outlines several principles for employers to adopt when they consider introducing AI technologies to recruit and manage people at work. Some of these principles include worker voice (ensuring that the workers’ concerns and interests guide the development and implementation of AI at work); equality (no unlawful discriminatory decisions should be made using technology); health and wellbeing (no new technology should be introduced at work that has a negative impact on workers’ physical or mental health, or their safety); human connection (maintain some degree of human involvement in decision making at work); transparency and explainability (it should be clear to people when and how technology is being used to make decisions about them at work); and data awareness and control (workers should be aware about how their data is used to inform AI systems; they should also have control and influence over how the data is used).