It seems like we are entering a very new age of IT. It wasn’t long ago that remote working and emails on smart phones were the new normal, but there has been a lot in the news recently about Artificial Intelligence (“AI”). “Chat GPT” is already on the 4th version and is being used a lot by the public in all areas of life.

What does it mean, and is it all hype and no substance or something we should be taking seriously?

On 17 May 2023, Labour MP, Mick Whitley, introduced the Artificial Intelligence (Regulation and Workers’ Rights) Private Members’ Bill (PMB) to the House of Commons.

Mick Whitley MP stated that he is realistic about the chances of the PMB becoming law. However, he hopes that it can begin a conversation about the steps needed to better protect workers at a time when, in the words of Sir Patrick Vallance appearing before the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, “we are living through an AI revolution that will be every bit as far reaching as the first industrial revolution.” Those are very sobering words.

The PMB makes a number of recommendations including:

  • Introducing a statutory duty for employers to meaningfully consult with employees and trade unions before introducing AI into the workplace.

  • Strengthening existing equalities law with a view to preventing discrimination by algorithm. This would include amending the Data Protection Act 2018 to explicitly state that discriminatory data processing would be unlawful, amending the Employment Rights Act 1996 to create a statutory right that workers should not be subject to detrimental treatment as a result of the processing of inaccurate data, reversing the burden of proof in discrimination claims that challenge decisions made by AI and making equality impact audits a mandatory part of data protection impact assessments. Employers would be required to publish these assessments.

  • Establishing a universal and comprehensive right to human review of high-risk decisions made by AI, as well as a right to human contact when high-risk decisions are being made.

  • Establish a right for workers to “disconnect from work”.

The suggestion is that AI is moving quickly, this is more than just hype, and we all need to be “plugged” in to how it all develops and what we can do to stay ahead of the curve, particularly as businesses.

The contents of this post do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposes only.

The contents of this post do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposes only