On April 8, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a blog post titled, “Using Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms,” that offers important lessons about the use of AI and algorithms in automated decision-making. The post begins by noting that headlines today tout rapid improvements in AI technology, and the use of more advanced AI has enormous potential to improve welfare and productivity. But more sophisticated AI also presents risks, such as the potential for unfair or discriminatory outcomes. This tension between benefits and risks is a particular concern in “Health AI,” and the tension will continue as AI technologies are deployed to tackle the current COVID-19 crisis.
The FTC post reminds companies that, while the sophistication of AI is new, automated decision-making is not, and the FTC has a long history of dealing with the challenges presented by the use of data and algorithms to make decisions about consumers.