Earlier this week, President Biden issued a landmark Executive Order to establish new standards for artificial intelligence (AI) safety and security with the goal of ensuring the U.S. leads the way in seizing the promise and managing the risks of AI. The Executive Order also aims to protect privacy, advance equity and civil rights, stand up for consumers and workers, promote innovation and competition, as well as advance U.S. leadership around the world.
As America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate, the National Safety Council believes data and AI can be used to gain insights into workplace safety programs and that employers can apply those same insights and technology to reduce the risk of serious injuries and fatalities for workers. Over the past five years, NSC has focused specifically on how technology, including AI, can improve health and safety outcomes on the job through its Work to Zero initiative, which continues to reveal how technology works well and can be improved to save lives.
Some of the prevailing AI technologies include machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, as well as predictive and prescriptive analytics engines. All these technologies serve as powerful tools to identify risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders and other injuries, reduce employee incidents and streamline manual tasks. We urge the White House, Congress and other policymakers to examine these findings as it continues to incorporate learnings into this effort.
AI is changing U.S. jobs and workplaces, with several barriers to widespread adoption, and this Executive Order is a much-needed first step to keeping workers protected and safe. Investing in workplace training and development to ensure workers can use AI to do their jobs safely and securely is key, as AI has the power to help improve safety and health outcomes in the workplace.
As mentioned in our testimony to the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee this week, AI must be people centered, without bias, and correct. Our nation’s AI legislative and regulatory policy should ensure these principles are foundational to its use. NSC stands ready to support employers as they consider the safety and security of their workers, consumers and other stakeholders, and looks forward to keeping worker health and safety top of mind in this changing landscape.